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

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

By, adv. Also: bi, bye, bey. [ME. by, OE. bi (rare), from By, prep.]

1. Near, close at hand. Nere by: see Nere adv. 1375 Barb. vi. 171.
Quha had beyn by, And seyn [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 277.
Al thai that by stude
Ib. l. 38.
The noys … That mycht bene hard, quha had ben by
1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 246.
Ane worthy asysse of the eldast … of the quentre by
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxi. 9.
I had beine bocht in realmes by, Had I consentit to be sauld
1535 Stewart 41897.
Tha walknit all in chalmeris liand bi
a1578 Pitsc. I. 196/10.
King Richart … send thame for the crowne of Ingland quhilk was nar hand by at that time

b. Ful and by, close-hauled to the wind. 1549 Compl. 41/20.
Than the master cryit on the rudir man, mait, keip ful and by, a luf

2. Past, so as to pass or miss. c1400 Troy-bk. i. 585.
All the planettes … He may thame louse & lete go by
c1420 Wynt. i. 459.
Quhen thai come by
Ib. v. 512.
The Brute tellys it sa oppynly, That I wyll lat it now ga by
Ib. viii. 2890.
Thai persawyd by gangand A man, that … By thame rycht fayne wald have bene
?1438 Alex. ii. 1231.
Clarus … Far by passit withoutin mare skaith
c1420 Ratis R. 1357.
Profettis … Says prayar ledis vengans by
a1500 Seven S. 2241.
The vij master … Prayit them to tary & syne raid by
1497 Treas. Acc. I. 333.
To ane pur wyf, at the brig of Dersee, as the King raid by
c1500-c1512 Dunb. v. 8.
Ȝit scho wanderit, and ȝeid by to ane elriche well
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 451.
Lat all my faltis with this offens pas by
Ib. ii. x. 64.
Quhen thai by war runnyn
15.. Clar. i. 1311.
So com ane knicht by rydand upon cace
a1570-86 Maitl. F. liv. 3.
By come ane gymp man
1587-99 Hume iii. 10.
The shaddow of the earth anon Remooues and drawes by
1638 Baillie I. 110.
At taking of it by, it falls on the ground

b. With reference to time. Cf. Bygane, etc. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 143.
Na mair I can forbeir To puneis ȝow for all that is gane by

3. Aside. (With cast, lay, put, etc.) 1513 Doug. i. x. 62.
The God of lufe … laid his weyngis by
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 190/20.
This fals Brettonnis … bure by Mordred thair richtuis aire
1533 Boece ii. xii. 83.
The twa bredir … war tane by to ane secrete passage
1535 Stewart 26780.
This ȝoung Arthure … Tha crownit king and put the richt air bye
Ib. 30306.
Tha sould … All kynd of armour in that place cast by
1569 St. A. Kirk S. 326.
The said Dauid … tuik the said Iohne prayer buik and laid it bi
1570 Sat. P. xx. 181.
Lat not inuy cause sum ly by, Bot all togidder stand
1596 Dalr. I. 122/11.
Hang quha is iniurious to his parents … and cast him by vnȝerdet
1600-1610 Melvill 404.
When I tuk yow twa by and spak with yow
1611 M. Works Acc. IX. 5.
To the warkmen for laying this tember bey
1619 Misc. Bann. C. I. 201.
The Bishop of St. Androes putt by the hanging

b. To put by, to get rid of. 1651 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 202.
That the … magistratis doe thair best with the rutmaster to put him by on easie termis if possible

4. a. By and by, in order or succession; directly, straightway; presently. 1513 Doug. i. vi. 48.
At quhat cost … Sal we arrive, thou tech ws by and by
Ib. ii. iv. 63.
Turnand quhelis thai set in, by and by
Ib. iii. iii. 70.
Thir materis me declaring by and by
15.. Clar. i. 15.
Beholding on the stairis by and by The King, the Quene, with mony fair lady
1567 G. Ball. 158.
Johne, cum kis me by and by
Ib. 161.
Mak na delay, cum by and by
a1578 Pitsc. II. 59/7.
Quhene he come beffoir the cardinall by and by, the suppryour of the abbay … maid the sermone

b. By and attour, in addition. (Cf. Atour adv. 1 b.) 1620 Northern N. & Q. I. 93.
By and attour they are near yourself

5. In addition, extra. 1534 Prestwick B. Rec. 54.
The inquest fyndis ... at he had besteal [= bestial] by apon the commoun gers

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"By adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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