A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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Mirk, Merk, Mark, a. Also: mirke, myrk(e; meirke; murk. [ME. and e.m.E. mirk(e, myrk(e, mirc (13th c.), ME. merk(e (13–14th c.), marke (Towneley Plays), OE. mirce, ON. myrk-r (Sw. mörk, Da. mørk).]

1. Dark (night etc.); dark, murky, lowering (air, cloud, weather etc.). Also in the impers. const., (of the weather) it is (grew etc.) mirk. (1) In a myrk nycht; Barb. ix. 373 (E).
Ib. x. 588.
Sa wondire myrke become the ayr; Leg. S. xiii. 177.
Quhen mirkest wes the nycht; Ib. xxx. 529.
Ib. xl. 570.
The thrid part of the sonne was obscure and mirk; Hay I. 24/15.
The tyme is myrk and blak; Ib. II. 132/11.
Ane mirk cloud; Alex. (Taym.) 2836.
Wnder the nychtis myrk scilens; Seven S. 868.
Myll Spect. 290/29.
A tempest … als myrk as nycht; Doug. iii. iii. 88.
Ib. iv. iii. 59.
The layk dyrk Of Acheron gorgeit with fludis myrk; Ib. vi. ii. 58.
Ib. iv. 75.
Smokis dyrk With huge sop of reyk and flambis myrk; Ib. viii. iv. 164.
At midnicht mirk; Clar. iii. 692.
Lynd. Mon. 5343.
Leslie 101.
Pitsc. I. 31/14.
Ane cleik … to hing ane bowat on in mirk nychtis; 1589–90 Ayr Common Good Acc.
Dalr. I. 195/26.
The eclips of the sone Setterday callit the mirk Setterday, 25 Februar 1597; Chron. Perth 6.
1637 Baillie I. 21.
(b) Aganis mystis merk; Dietary 42.
(c) Amang the schaddowys and the skuggis mark; Doug. vi. iv. 43.
Ane schour of haill … Als mark as midnicht; Stewart 21187.
And the night was growand mark wpoun thame; Pitsc. I. 405/34.
Hume Hymnes ii. iii.
How sone the nicht fell mark; Spalding II. 476.
(2) Apon thaim fell the nycht That woux myrk; Barb. v. 21 (E).
[He] Come to Roxburgh, qwhen it wes myrk; Wynt. viii. 5957.
It wes so mirk ane styme thai micht nocht se; Stewart 10467.
Rolland Seven S. 3284.
1567 Crim. Trials I. i. 497.
James VI Poems I. 89/21.
(b) It wes richt merk [E. myrk]; Barb. x. 383 (C).

b. The mirk nycht, the dark night; the darkest part of the night, dead of night. Also (the) mirk midnycht. c. Murk nicht, pitch dark. b. (1) Quhen gane is the lycht & cummyne is the myrk nycht; Leg. S. xxx. 322.
As far as the lychtnes of the sone passis the myrknes of the mirk nycht; Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 102.
I did spaceir vp ande doune but sleipe, The maist part of the myrk nycht; Compl. 38/4.
(2) To waill the gait about the mirk midnycht; Stewart 10719.
At midnycht myrk thay will vs tak; G. Ball. 141.
c. It wes murk nicht … at the ower golf hoill … he hed tuyse ado with hir; 1619 Perth Kirk S. MS. 12 Apr.

2. Of places: Dark, gloomy, without light. b. Dungeon-mirk, dark as a dungeon, pitch-dark. c. (To sit) full merk (= in intense darkness) (in some dark place). d. transf. (a) He gert … in a myrk pressone hire flyng; Leg. S. xlv. 174.
That place ves lacht & myrk; Ib. xlvi. 171.
In till a myrk donieone; Ib. l. 612.
Ane mirk valee; Alex. (Taym.) 2831.
Quhill that he cum the myrkest mur amang; Wall. v. 293.
Ib. ix. 1349.
A ferefull strete Myrk as the nycht; Henr. Orph. 187.
Rauf C. 22.
And thou hauld thi window stekit that thi chawmer be myrk and nocht licht; Irland Mir. II. 73/16.
Est fra Ynd is … the myrk land; Asl. MS. I. 159/8.
Ȝour foirstairis makis ȝour housis mirk; Dunb. lxxxii. 17.
Doug. vii. v. 99.
Bell. Livy I. 38/23.
The mother … wes sittand in ane mirk chalmer; 1592 St. A. Kirk S. 728.
Ane mirk dungeon within ane kill logy; 1635 Grant Chart. 449.
(b) And sekis gardingis secrett & merk placis; Loutfut MS. 26 b.
(c) Buying of wool in mark houses and quiet lofts; 1582 (1650) Dundee B. Laws 43.
b. The said Elspeth, going in ȝour seller, quhilk was dungeon mirk; 1624 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 139.
c. Quhair scho was wont to sit full merk In that deip dungeoun; Henr. III. 99/85.
Ib. 100/116.
d. Ay quhil thai stand in myrk and law degre; Doug. vi. xiv. 52.

3. a. Ane mirk mirrour. A dark, dim, cloudy mirror; chiefly fig. = a thing obscure or not clear, not easily comprehended. Cf. sense 5 c. It is ane mirk mirrour, Ane uthir manis ers; Henr. III. 153/90.
To me is myrk myrrour ilk mannys menyng; Doug. viii. Prol. 135.
A mirk mirrour is a mans minde; Ferg. Prov. No. 70.
Carmichael Prov. No. 949.

b. Of the sight: Darkened, dimmed. Be the een of thame made myrk that thai se nocht; Nisbet Rom. xi. 10.

4. In comb. with an adj. of colour, as myrk-gray, meirke-broun, = dark (grey, brown). Found only applied to horses. Cf. ON. myrk-blá-r dark blue. Ane myrk gray [horse] of thrie ȝeir auld; 1575 Edinb. Test. III. 288.
Ane brown pyat meir and ane myrk gray meir; 1594 Black Bk. Taymouth 299.
1623 Hawick Ann. 277.
A meirke broun mear; 1697 Old-lore Misc. IX. i. 48.

5. In various fig. uses. a. In spiritual or intellectual darkness; unenlightened, ignorant; ‘blinded’, deluded. b. Wrongful. c. Obscure, difficult to comprehend. (Cf. also 3 a.) d. Gloomy, troubled. a. The Emperour … to be lord and judge … of the temporalitee, the quhilk is merk as nycht; Hay I. 24/24.
Oure mirk and deidlye cors materiale Blindis the spirituall operatioun; Henr. Fab. 1633 (Bann.).
Thi mynd is myrk; Seven S. 1487.
Gif thin e be waywart, al thi body salbe mirk; Nisbet Matth. vi. 23.
Hamilton Cat. 29.
St. Paull … perseuit the membris of Christe in mirk ignorance firmilie; Winȝet I. 53/3.
b. Ane noble man of nature … enarmand in ane fals mirk or wrangwis querele … is … dampnit; Porteous Noblenes 176/18.
Gif our intencion be principally to get any … reward of man, thane is our deid sa done myrke, that is to say displesand and nocht acceptable to God; Hamilton Cat. 30.
c. A thinge of gret diffyculte And myrke and hard fore to say; Leg. S. iii. 1077.
& rycht clere seand in thingis merk & obscuret; Loutfut MS. 18 a.
That Merlyng na merk thing wald mys; Seven S. 2162.
Ib. 2179.
Be mirk figurs; Gau 72/33.
Aucht questionis of mirk intelligence; Bann. MS. p. 29/5.
d. Drownit in dule, myrk was thi mynd, Mary; Arundel MS. 256/30.
The gret corage … now cheiflie may be seine to schine in that natione in this mirk and mistie tyme; Dalr. I. 70/12.

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"Mirk adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/mirk_adj>



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