Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations & symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).

Beste, Beist, n. Also: best, beyst, beest, beast(e. Pl. bestis, beistis (etc.); bese, bes; beast. [ME. best(e, beest(e, OF. beste, L. bestia.]Examples of the reduced plural, surviving in Sc. dial. as beass, are: — a1400 Leg. S. iv. 324.
Folow thai bese [i.e. oxen], till thai blyne
a1500 Henr. Orph. 161.
My bed sall be … with mony bustuos bes
1669 Forbes Baron Ct. 277.
Any of thair beast in the said wood

1. An animal, esp. a wild animal. (See Wild a.)(a) a1400 Leg. S. xvii. 35.
As beste he vald … sla and ete al that had lyfe
Ib. xxviii. 422.
The best … brast in twa
c1420 Wynt. i. 87.
Name till bestis Adame gawe
Ib. ii. 1246.
Swylk a best wes nevyr made
1456 Hay I. 38/20.
The folk … lyvit apon the raw fruytis as bestis
Ib. 78/12.
Bathe beste, foule, and fisch
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1171.
Blynd as brutale best irresonable
1513 Doug. i. xi. 98.
Quhar of mankynd is maid, … Quharof bestis
1533 Gau 65/31.
Part ar … etine with feish and bestis
a1568 Scott xxxi. 19.
As a brutall best [: degest. test]
(b) c1500 Fyve Bestes 398.
No beist of reif
1513 Doug. iii. iii. 1.
Euery beist on grond Desiris rest
1535 Stewart 33195.
As brutell beistis takand appetyte
1549 Compl. 17/25.
Ve suld nocht say that ane man is ane beyst
a1578 Pitsc. II. 222/9.
Ane monstrous beist lyk ane wolff
1596 Dalr. I. 20/14.
A beist of meruellous audacite and suiftnes

2. Any of the animals usually kept as farming stock; a horse, ox, etc.(a) 14.. Acts I. 304/2.
Gyf thir bestis be of ony fre haldand man
c1420 Wynt. i. 217.
The brukyd bestys and the wayre
1456 Hay I. 114/3.
The knychtis ar nouthir ordanyt to labour cornis … na to kepe bestis othir na hors
1477 Edinb. Chart. 141.
All qwyk bestis, ky, oxon, nocht to be brocht in the tovne
1513 Doug. iii. vi. 32.
Helenus than … The ȝong bestis slew in sacryfys
1551 Ann. Banff I. 28.
The fyrst apprehendar to have iiij d. for ilk time ony best beis fundin
1615 Kirkwall Sheriff Ct. 5.
[To] shew him the best, the mark, and the mans name
(b) 1513 Doug. iii. ix. 97.
Polyphemus, ȝymmand his beystis rouch
1533 Gau 11/5.
Thy nichtburs … beist
1551 Reg. Cupar A. II. 70.
Pasturyng to the beystis of the tenentis
1570 Edinb. Test. I. 76.
Thre ȝoung beistis of twa ȝeir auld
1595 Paisley B. Rec. 162.
Na ky, sterks, nor utheris beists except hors
c1650 Spalding I. 81.
Fauldis quhairin beistis war keipit
(c) 1616 Dalyell Superst. 118.
Ony wrest of man or beast
1637 Elgin Rec. I. 257.
Thrie tedderit beasts, ayther kye, oxen, or stirks
1671 Wodrow MSS. 4to XXXVIII. No. 7.
Some of the beastis they hoched
1694 Lanark Presb. 118.
She heard the beasts mak din

3. A skin of a fur-bearing animal. 1473 Treas. Acc. I. 17.
Item … xxiiij bestis of grece to lyne a typpat to the King
1508 Ib. IV. 129.
For tagging, grathing and bukkilling of the wild bestis
1513 Ib. 426.
xij new armyn bestis

4. An ignorant, brutal, or cruel person. a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 505.
Ane benefice quha wald gyue sic ane beste
1571 Sempill Sat. P. xxviii. 202.
Mair beist was he that bure it not in his breist
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxii. 129.
O cruell, fals, dissaitful, bludie beistis
1611-57 Mure I. 56/13.
This priest, or beist, doth weir a fylthy fame

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Beste n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jun 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: