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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
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Wild fyre, -fir(e, Wyld(e) fyre, n. Also: uyld fyre. [ME and e.m.E. wilde fur (1297), wildfire (Cursor M.), wylde fyre (?a1400).] a. Lightning. b. A rash or eruptive skin disease. c. Ignis fatuus, the spontaneous combustion of gases. d. fig.Fury, raging passion.a. 1425–6 Acts II 12/2.
Gif birnyng happynis in ony toune [etc.] … of suddande case that may nocht be forsene as wylde fyre or rattonis or foulis
1513 Doug. i i 76.
From Jupiter the wild fyre down scho slang … distroyt thar schippis
1513 Doug. i v 12.
O thou … quhilk governys … Baith goddis and men … And oft affrays with thundyr and wyldfyre [Sm. wild fir]
1525 St. A. Formulare I 270.
The yerd mot oppin … and suelly thame … the uyld fyre that brynt Chore and his fallouis … usurpand aganis Moyses … mot … consume thaim
b. 1580 Skeyne Descr. Well Sig. A 4.
It perfytlie cuiris (being drunkin) the exteriour scabbis, wyldefyre, darteris & vther filthines of the skyn
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 312 (T).
The wandevill, the wildfyre, the womeit, the weis
c. 1672 Sinclair Hydrostaticks 293.
In some coals which naturally are full of oil, … there is a certain fire, which is as a meteor, and I judge, that from its resemblance to ignis fatuus, which the vulgar term wildfire, it hath the same name … sometimes seen in little holes of the coal-wall
d. c1680 McWard Contendings 55.
That the flame … is from the fire of zeal to Jesus Christ … and that all things which … may make it degenerate into carnal passion should be watched against … But 2dly … men ought to beware to put false names upon things and to call that wild-fire and fury which the Lord will own as fervour and zeal for Him and in His interest true for its kind and kindled by Himself

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"Wild Fyre n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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