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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).

Unbest, -beist, -beast, n. Also: um-, wnbeist. [ME vnbeste (Cursor M.); Beste n. Also, as onbeast, in the later dial.] A wild animal, savage beast; (an instance of) vermin. a1400 Leg. S. xvi 502.
Pytuisly the prince can pray That thai hyr kest nocht in the se Met til vnbestis [L. belluis] to be
1533 Boece 65b.
Vicis incressing with age … he grewe in fellony like ane cruell vnmercifull vnbeist
1533 Boece 109b.
In Orknay was nowder wolf, fox, taid, serpent nor vthir noysum vnbeist
1629 Boyd Last B. (1629) 17.
What are barnes of corne … a nest for myce and rattons. Would yee desire to liue for to enjoye the leauings of vnbeasts?
1629 Justiciary Cases I 134.
Sindrie tymes in steid of milk ky will geve bluid aither be unskilfulnes of the milker pairtlie gif the udder be bittin uith ane unbeist

b. In pejorative or jocular use, of human beings. 1460 Hay Alex. 10717.
A land … Quhare beistlike men livit vnhonestlie … full farrand and ill schappin of make … Thay war nakit and sum-thing routh of hare In cavis but howis vmbeistis [pr. vnbeistis] as thai war
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 258 (T).
Bot this bargane, vnbeist [H. wnbeist] deir sall thow by it

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"Unbest n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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