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

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Skelf, S(c)helf, n.1 Also: skelff, skelfe, skellf(f, scelf, skalf(f, scalve. [ME and e.m.E. schelfe (Chaucer), skelfe (1396-7, north.), OE scylfe, MLG schelf. Cf. ON -skjalf a bench.] A shelf. Also with defining word. Also attrib. (1) Baith cheis and butter vpon skelfis hie; Henr. Fab. 264.
Thow sall haif lo standing in the skelf Quheit breid [etc.]; Colk. Sow ii 161.
Gevin for twa dalis to be ane skelf in the clerkis chalmer; 1553 Edinb. Old Acc. I 76.
We among ws ay sall … rype in faith mony pouir wedois skelf; Duncan Laideus Test. 155.
Upon the walls of baith the chalmers skelfs of fir in manner of presses; 1560 Old Dundee II 236.
Makinge of lange skelffis and letteronis and saittis in the ministeris study; 1561–2 Edinb. Old Acc. II 156.
To caus repair the ministers ludgeings in skelffs and other necessaris; 1594 Edinb. B. Rec. V 114.
Skellfes; 1611 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 334.
For putting in skelffis in the lettroun that hauldis the kirkbuikis, 4 s; 1631 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II 30 March.
With open skelfis abone them close to the jeisting; 1661 Edinb. B. Rec. IX 252.
Ane skellff with thrie lyones thairon; 1666 Edinb. Test. LXXII 110b.
Ane read east Yndia skelf and a broad dish of the same; 1683 Inv. in Donibristle Mun. (Earl of Moray's MSS) 8 (9-10 May).
Ane pair of chrystell skelfes. Item fyve pair of litle skelfes of colored wood tortieshell & ivorie with gilded pillars; 1683 Inv. in Donibristle Mun. (Earl of Moray's MSS) 9 (9-10 May).
(b) For making of scelfs in the chamber of the schoole & covering the beds above … 1 s. 16 d.; 1663 Stirling Common Good 14b.
(c) For maiking of ane halland saitt, burds and skalffis in the clerk's chalmer; 1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II 283.
In the pantrie besyde the kitching, ane auld keist of fir … with certane skalfis about the wallis; 1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 648/1.
The charlatan … took occasion to show the spectators some vipers he had in a box with scalves in it; 1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 70.
(d) For a serkine of birse to sweip the windows and schelfs; 1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 29 Oct.
To a timber man … for putting 2 scelfis in the buttrie; 1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 29 Oct.
Ane schelf within the chamber; 1688 Peebles B. Rec. II 122.
(2) Cheis skelf; 1595 Inv. Castle Campbell in Argyll Mun. 21 Feb. (Old Argyll MS Inv.).
2 haingen shelfs 2 brass kliks; 1680 Moncreiffs 668.
(3) Woll kamis … hechillis … cardis … wescheing tubbis … ane lang skelf burde; 1599 Black Bk. Taymouth 335.

b. fig. To lay or set (a person or thing) up (on) a heich skelf, to elevate in importance. Also, to draw (someone) upone a skelfe, ? (1) Hall binkis ar sliddrie … and earthlie courtis ar kittill, and kingis minions ar sett vp on heigh skelffis, bot slipperie and dangerous; 1622 Lett. Eccl. Affairs II 699.
Bot this mater wes vtheruaies handlit and laid vpone ane heigher skelf; Spalding II 257.
(2) The matter is haisted be the King of France becawss of a legate of the Popes that is cuming whitche he feares maye draw him upone sume skelfe; 1625 Mar & Kellie MSS Suppl. 228.

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"Skelf n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/skelf_n_1>

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