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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.

Beforn, Beforne, adv., prep., conj. [ME. beforn(e, var. of beforen, OE. beforan: see Before. In Sc. only in rhyme (with rare exceptions) and prob. adopted from English.]

A. adv. 1. Before in time; formerly. 1375 Barb. x. 245.
Thai that war went furth beforn
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 145.
Ihesus, quham one the tre Before-tyme we hangit beforne
c1420 Wynt. i. 436.
Swylk wes the lyf thai led beforne
Ib. ii. 1187.
Never yhit … Sa lang a day wes sene beforne
?1438 Alex. ii. 391.
For wyse men hes said beforne, ‘Euill nichtbour makes euill morne’
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 60.
Syklyk corne That cumys agane, as grew beforne
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 427.
Ené did na thing … Bot quhilk the goddis commandit hym beforn
1535 Stewart 19426.
Ane lang tyme beforne
15.. Clar. i. 617.
As ȝe have hard beforne
1570 Sat. P. xviii. 48.
Thay thocht … [to] obtene thay socht sa lang beforne
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1490.
As ȝe hard beforn
1604-31 Craig v. 33/12.
This practicke rare which seldome was beforn

b. Of beforn(e, in the same sense. Cf. Before adv. 1 b. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxx. 14.
In quhais heartis no prudence can tak place, Exemple, nor experience of beforne
1535 Stewart 4850.
To fecht in feild agane thame [that] … Hes vincust thame so laitlie of beforne
a1568 Scott ii. 92.
Than wer thay movit owt of mynd, Far mair than of beforne

2. In front; in advance; in presence. c1420 Wynt. i. 802.
That horne … is wondyr scharpe beforne
a1500 Henr. Twa Mys 94 (A).
The eldest mous wes gyde & ȝeid beforne
1535 Stewart 9356.
This being said quhair mony wes beforne

3. I tak beforne, I except. ?1438 Alex. ii. 73.
The best on ground that euer was borne, Bot Alexander I tak beforne

B. prep. 1. In front of, in presence of. 1375 Barb. iii. 136.
He laid hym ewyn him beforn
c1475 Wall. iv. 110.
Fell tithingis was brocht Persie beforn
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 87.
With stout contenance and sture he stude thame beforne
c1500 Fyve Bestes 128.
This gentill best this king he come beforne
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 588.
With luck and grace and Fortoun me beforne
a1500 Doug. K. Hart 302.
Bewtie hir baner beris hir beforne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxv. 12.
Me thocht Deme Fortoun … Stude me beforne
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 110.
Twa men of weir wer hir beforne
15.. Clar. i. 1028.
To heir quhat waird [= weird] thay sould lay me beforne
1567 G. Ball. 27.
Na certane tyme [being] set thé beforne
1611-57 Mure I. 166/98.
When … Thou guiltie stands that Iudge beforne

2. Before (in time); previous to, earlier than. c1420 Wynt. iv. 2522.
That cyté Quharoff beforne that borne wes he
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lx. 46.
All his eldaris him beforne
1535 Stewart 24.
Of eldaris deidis preceidand him beforne
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 68.
So was his father him beforne
1567 G. Ball. 44.
He that all warldis was beforne
1572 Sat. P. xxxi. 182.
Allace, that euer thay wer borne, That dwelt in Scotland vs beforne

C. conj. With that and or (= ere): Before. c1420 Wynt. ii. 145.
Twa thowsand yhere and ten beforne That Cryst wes off the Madyn borne
Ib. 833.
Thre hundyr … yhere beforn Or Ihesu wes off Mary born

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"Beforn adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2024 <>



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