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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ado, adv. and n. Also: addo, adoo, adoe; adow, adou. [Northern ME. at do to do: see At.]

A. adv. To do; to be done. Used after several verbs.

1. After be. In later use = doing, taking place.1375 Barb. x. 349 (sa mekill suld be thair ado). c1420 Wynt. viii. 6727 (quhare syc thingys ware a-do). a1500 Prestis Peblis 1064 (tel me quhat is the best ado). c1500-c1512 Dunb. xliii. 24 (quhen thair is ocht ado). 1536 Edinb. B. Rec. 77 (the occasioun that is now ado). 1596 Dalr. II. 109/29 (quhatevir was ado in the realme).

2. After have.a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 739 (I haf ado ellis quhare). Hay I. 114/20 (to pas quhare thai have ado). 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 318 (go quhair thai haue ado). 1530 Jas. V in Wemyss Corr. 2 (till ansuere ws quhen we haif ado). 1586 Misc. Spald. C. IV. 236 (as it sall happin him to haif ado).

b. To have ado with (also early of), to be concerned with (a thing or person). Also with ocht, nocht, etc.14.. Acts I. 24/2 (nane sall hafe tharof a do); 26/2 (agaynis hym at has ado with hym). 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 142 (it has na thing ado tharwith). 1561 Inverness B. Rec. I. 58 (ewyrre man that hes ado with horse). 1596 Dalr. II. 25/7 (Elizabeth with quhome the king had ado). 1655 Blairs P. 87.
God knouis best ... what complents he hes mead ... to others special persons with whome I haue frequently adow

c. To have (something) ado. See also Aneuch 2 c.1456 Hay I. 148/28 (I had nocht ado in my awin hous). 1467 Aberd. B. Rec. 27 (in all thingis that he has ado). 1499 Dunferm. B. Rec. 101 (for materis that he hais adow). a1500 Doug. K. Hart 776 (quhat haue ȝe now ado?). 1543 Misc. Spald. C. IV. 120 (in querrelles that we haue ado). c 1592 Annandale Corr. 27 (for sic speciall turnis I haif ado). c1705 Nimmo Narr. 4 (having considerable afaires a doe).

3. After aw (= ought). 1410 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 29.
Berand witness til suythfastness as we awe ado of our office
1423 Edinb. Chart. etc. 56.
The Baylyes … sal deliuer … the saide millis free as thay aw ado

4. After get (little, nothing, etc.). c1552 Lynd. Mon. 663.
The Jugis wald get lytill thyng ado
1622-6 Bisset I. 16/5.
The justice cryminall, gettis na thing now ado
c1650 Spalding II. 400.
The committee gat sum vther labour ado schortlie

5. Without verb expressed. 1570 Sempill Sat. P. xii. 124.
Quhy lie ȝe heir with lytill thing ado?
1572 Ib. xxxii. 55.
Na work ado bot beg

B. n. Business, occupation; commotion, trouble; concern; occasion. c1475 Wall. viii. 1734.
The fals nacioun … thai mak ws ay ado
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4096.
Quhat mekill Devil is this ado?
1567 G. Ball. 158.
Johne, cum kis me … And make no moir adow
1586 Waus Corr. II. 366.
It may happin they imploye me in the lyik ado
1593 Misc. Spald. C. I. 7.
Quha will profess gwidwill in this our vary necessar ado

b. pl. Concerns, affairs, matters. 1554 Misc. Spald. C. II. 276.
To serf the said Lord and Maister … in all thair caussis and querrellis, bissenes and adois
1582 Wemyss Corr. 77.
To haiff ȝour aduyse in sum of my adois
1588 St. A. Kirk S. 629.
Sic adois as the sessioun sall charge him with
1622 Dundee B. Laws 484.
Considering that the veklie peny payit of auld … is now to litill for the adous of the samen [craft]
c1650 Spalding I. 295.
He had gryt moyan by his mareage … in all his adois aganes the Haddoche Gordoun

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"Ado adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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