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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Onles, Unles, adv. phr. and conj. Also: onlesse, oneles, wnles. [Late ME. and e.m.E. upon less þan (c 1400), onles(se that (1440), in lasse thanne (c 1449), unlesse then (1467), on lasse than (a 1500), also oneles (1508), unles (1536) as prep. and conj. without than or that, f. On prep. (also upon, in) and Les adv. (Cf. Oles adv. phr., of les (than), Of prep. 29 c, and Les a., adv. and conj. C 1.)] Unless, if … not, except. a. adv. phr., with that. b. conj.a. 1561 Knox in Facs. Nat. MSS. III. xlv.
Onles that hir crafty counsall in so doing shot att a farther marck
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcvii. 13.
Mischeif … Withouttin hoip syne of releif Vnles that God of His mercie … Stanche this vnkyndlie weir
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxvi. 34.
Onles that
b. (a) 1552 Corr. M. Lorraine 362.
Those whom I have not offendede, nor hath no just cause onles jolisie be taken
1554 Knox III. 128.
1556 Ib. IV. 78.
1560 Ib. II. 40.
That onles of these and other inormiteis I sall espye some redres I am assured that [etc.]
1560 Cal. Sc. P. I. 511. 1562 Knox II. 339.
Whairof we … cane no longer keape silence onles we wold mack our selfis criminall … of your blood
1565 Peebles B. Rec. I. 299. 1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I. 545.
They culd not approve the mariage onles the band … wer destroyit
1567 G. Ball. 175.
Quha culd deuise sic merchandis … Onles it war proude Lucifer
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 39.
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcviii. 98.
That can not be content Off thair awin land and rent … Onles thai fill thair handis With vther mennis landis
1573 Tyrie in Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 22/32.
Quhow can it be possible that in all age thair be sum quha do adione thame to the Kirk onles in all age it be visible
1574–5 Reg. Privy C. II. 441.
He than refusit onles scho wald … leif sic legaceis as [etc.]
1580 Inverness Rec. I. 287. 1581 Reg. Morton I. 129.
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 85.
(b) a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxi. 5.
Mirthles I man remaine Vnles that fluid … My rest restoir againe
Ib. lxxiii. 64. a1578 Pitsc. I. 39/28.
No man wist quhair to seik refuge wnles he had sworne him self ane servant to sum common murtherar
1581 Sat. P. xliv. 359.

Onles adv. phr., conj.

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"Onles adv. phr., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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