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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.

Best, a. and adv. Also: beste, beist, beast. [ME. best(e, beist (beest), OE. betsta, -e adj., betst adv.]

A. adj. Most excellent. 1. With nouns. 1375 Barb. ix. 130.
Arayit on thair best maneir
c1450-2 Howlat 418.
With barris of best gold
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 483.
The best thing that man … mycht do
1487 Fraser P. 108.
On the best uys can be diuisit
1521 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 205.
The best way thai kan
a1540 Freiris Berw. 327.
The best meit … in this cuntre
1622-6 Bisset II. 259/19.
The best cabill and anker
1649 Wemyss Chart. II. 231.
My beist glouffs
1672 Rep. Hist. MSS., Var. Coll. V. 175.
To kill one of the beast bucks in the iyll

b. The best aucht, the most valuable article or animal owned by a person, claimed by the superior on the death of a tenant. c1500-c1512 Dunb. vi. 49.
Syne leif I the best aucht I bocht … To hede of kyn
1510 Breadalbane Doc. (Reg. H.) No. 38.
Thair calpis, … that is the best aucht in thair hous the tymes of thair deceis
1597 Skene Verb. S.
Herreȝelda, is the best aucht, ox, kow, or vther beast quhilk ane husband man … hes in his possession, the time of his decease, quhilk aucht and suld be given to his Landislord
1617 Acts IV. 548/2.
The vnlaufull taking from thame … efter thair deceis vnder the name of Caulpes off the best aucht, quhither it be ox, mear, hors, or cow

2. Absolutely, as sing. or plural, esp. of persons. 1388 Banff Chart. 21.
Tyl [an] assys of the best and the worthyast of the cuntre
1442 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 6.
Of the best of the towne … and of the simplare folk
c1475 Wall. ix. 232.
Wallace … The best is callyt this day
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 204.
Beirnis of the best
1525 Reg. Great S. 97/1.
Tua or thre of the best of the said craft
a1568 Bann. MS. 255 a/12.
Sum haldis his lady for the best
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 10.
Ane certaine of the best of the fyrst classe
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 87.
The best ay sonest gois

b. The advantage in fighting. c1420 Wynt. viii. 5644.
All thai tymys comownaly The best fell to the Scottis party

c. The greatest advantage, profit, or good; the most profitable or commendable course, etc. Freq. in phr. for the best.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xix. 48.
To do the best my mynd salbe
Ib. xxiv. 5.
To be blyth me think it best
1533 Gau 91/16.
That ve may turnne that to the best
a1570-86 Maitland M. Fol. ci. 66.
Could ȝe aggre it wer the best
Ib. clxxiv. 48.
Ilk ane sall him revenge as he sall think it best
(2) a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 104.
Perauenture all cummis for the best
a1540 Freiris Berw. 210.
I think it for the best
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 565.
God wrocht all for the best

B. adv. Most excellently, skilfully, perfectly, etc. a1400 Leg. S. vi. 41.
As … [he] that beste cuth do sic thinge
c1420 Wynt. ix. 513 (W).
He … best assemyt his estait
1456 Hay I. 194/5.
He may be with quham him best lykis
a1500 Seven S. 1174.
Oure honour best beis savit sa
1513 Doug. v. ii. 51.
Quha best on fute can ryn
1528 Lynd. Dreme 802.
I sall declare … As best I can
a1568 Bann. MS. 74 a/2.
Lufe best thi creatur
1596 Dalr. I. 289/22.
To vaig in quhat lust … lyket thame best

b. With past pples. (Cf. Wele adv.) 1429– (see Belovit ppl. a. 1 b). c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 429.
To se quhat berne is best brand
1593 Reg. Morton I. 182.
The best affectit of ȝour freindis

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"Best adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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