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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Elde, Eild, n. Also: eld, eyld(e, eilde, eeild, eeld(e. [ME. eelde, elde, OE. (Angl.) eldo, ældu.]

1. The age of a person. Freq. with specification of the number of years.(a) 1375 Barb. xiii. 704.
Of his kynrik passit was Fif ȝeir, … and of his elde sexty
a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 997.
Herot … thocht al barnis to sla … Of twa ȝere elde & withine
c1420 Wynt. iii. 509.
Quhen that he wes yhing Off fyftene yhere eld
Ib. viii. 4128.
Off elde he passyd noucht sewyntene yhere
?1438 Alex. ii. 3015.
Cassamus … that was … of his eld cant and ioly
14.. Acts I. 52/2.
Sa mekil as a swyn of iij ȝer elde … is of lenth
1456 Hay I. 45/13.
Aristotil was than of xvj ȝere of elde
c1500 Crying of Play 85.
Or he of elde was ȝeris thre
1513 Doug. i. xi. 22.
Ane hundreth madynnys had scho ȝong of eld
1539 Reg. Cupar A. II. 4.
Jhone Buttyr, lviii ȝeris of eld, marijt
(b) c 1390 Soc. Ant. XXX. 42.
Prays for hym that deyt hafand lx yherys of eyld
c1420 Wynt. iv. 27.
Romule off eylde was twenty yhere And twa quhen he begouth to stere
1424 Acts II. 4/2.
A colt of thre ȝer and mare of eild
Ib. 6/1.
That all men busk thame to be archaris fra thai be xii ȝere of eilde
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 465.
Hutit be the halok lase a hunder ȝeir of eild
1513 Doug. viii. ix. 41.
In sic strenthis and eild So as I was quhen first [etc.]
1535 Stewart 23084.
Of quhome the ȝoungest auchtene ȝeir of eild Suld be no les
1567 Edinb. Test. I. 33.
Quhen he cummis to the aige or eild of xx ȝeiris
1572 Inverness B. Rec. I. 219.
Bernis schone xvj or xviij d. as thai ar of eyld
1587 Edinb. Test. XVIII. 65 b.
Quhill he be of the aige of xiiij ȝeiris of eyld

b. With qualifying terms, esp. lauchful or perfite elde.(a) 1375 Barb. xvii. 928.
Micht he haf lifit quhill he had beyne Of perfit elde
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 301.
Quhen he come to rypare eld
Ib. xxviii. 79.
Scho beand in tendir elde, Hyr modyr … deit
1416 Maxwell Mem. I. 150.
The said Jamys [to act] as tutowr to the perfyt eld of the said childir
14.. Acts I. 24/2.
Gif ony burges … be passit elde to fecht [etc.]
1438 Lennox Mun. 69.
Als sone as the forsayd sone and dochter is off lachfull eld
1456 Hay I. 264/11.
As gif a man war our ȝong, within elde of tutry
1523 Fam. Rose 198.
Quhow soun the said Huchoun ayre … cumis to perfytt elde
(b) c 1423 Reg. Great S. (1431) 45/1.
Gif we lyf till thai cum to perfyte eylde
c1420 Ratis R. 887.
Quhen thow art ful eild cumyne to
1478 Acta Conc. 19/1.
The saidis persounis fand the saidis dochteris of lauchful eilde to the landis of Orcheardfelde
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 305.
I wes apperand to be pert within perfit eild
1535 Stewart 15767.
Ane sone he had … Fettis and fair and nocht of lawfull eild
Ib. 45765.
Quhill that he come onto perfytar eild

c. A particular age. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 311.
Of that eld was he Lik to a formulare to be
c1390 Reg. Morton I. App. xl.
Thou … tuk away twenty-one beistis … of syndri eildis and syndri hewis
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 299.
Thai saw … sa fayr folk … flurysand as of ane eld
c1420 Wynt. viii. 1842.
Off elde, na kynd, nane sparyd thai
c1420 Ratis R. 1112.
The formest of thire eildis sere I set within the fyrst thre ȝere
Ib. 1126; etc.
The tother eild … Is fra thre ȝer to vij lestand
1490 Irland Mir. I. 130/6.
Nouthir in the figure of ane auld man, nor of ane barne, for baith thai eldis and statis betakynnis imperfeccioune

2. Mature or legal age; full age.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2777.
Quhen he come to eld
14.. Acts I. 49/2.
Be witnessing of thre lele men of eld
1456 Hay I. 41/3.
Quhen thai war cummyn till elde, thai callit with thame all the herdis of the contree
1557 Reg. Cupar A. II. 144.
Ay and quhill he be of eld and habill to gyd his awin
(b) c1420 Wynt. v. 476.
A woman yhong till eyld growand
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 208.
Quhill wysdome cum throw wyt or eild
1490 Irland Mir. fol. 351.
Quhil he cum to eild and wisdome
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 106.
Be that of eild wes Gud Famis air, And cumyne to continwatioun
1529 Lynd. Complaynt 115.
I prayit daylie … My ȝoung maister that I mycht see Off eild
1556 Reg. Cupar A. II. 261.
The said Johne … sall tak in keping and sufficientlie pastur … samony ky of eild as we plais deliuer thame
1570 Sat. P. xviii. 16.
Allace! that sic ane tratour suld consume His dayis befoir our King had bene of eild

b. Within elde, under age. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2063.
Arestes … was with-in eude ȝit suthly
14.. Acts I. 37/2.
That nane beand wythin eylde … sal suer ath
Ib. 44/2.
He sall chasty hir as a barne wythin eylde

c. A difference in age. 1456 Hay I. 41/16.
Becaus thare was nane elde betuene thame that men mycht wit, thai war in hope ilkane to be first borne

3. Advanced or old age.(a) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 862.
Quhare hele beis ay but seknes, Ȝouthed but eld or wrechitnes
Ib. xxix. 20.
Quhen for elde he has quhyt hare
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2621.
I am now so strikin in eld, That I the kynryk may nocht weld
c1420 Wynt. i. 676.
Thar sum wyll thare eldrys sla, Quhen eelde thaim hapnys tyl our-ta
1456 Hay I. 264/14.
A man past grete age that for elde war excusit [from fighting]
1473 Holyrood Chart. 152.
Now the saide venerabil fadir is cummyn til elde and in grete wakenes of his persone
c1500 Crying of Play 99.
I am all crynd in for eld
1531 Bell. Boece I. 223.
He randerit all the strenthis of his realme, to have peace with Romanis in his eld
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1152.
Sanct Dewynnik … Thru gret eilde falȝeit & ded was
c1420 Wynt. ii. 182.
The gast he yhalde, … In gud eylde and in rychtwysnes
14.. Acts I. *91/2.
Giff ony of our brether of the gilde in his eyld fall crukyt or pure
c1420 Ratis R. 1102.
To knaw the cours of thi ȝouthed, And of the mydys, and of thin eild
1490 Irland Mir. I. 136/7.
Elizabeth now in hire eild … has consauit a child
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 63.
Most fortunable chiftane, bothe in yhouth and eild
1513 Doug. v. viii. 21.
Hys faynt schankis gan for eild schaik
1535 Stewart 30099.
He grew into sic eild, As he wes wont he micht nocht walk on feild
1549 Compl. 20/9.
Ther efter tha begyn to decresse ande declinis til eild ande to the dede
1579 Edinb. Test. VII. 194 b.
Ane meir that deit immediatlie for eild
1596 Dalr. I. 315/22.
The kirk of Coldinghame was alde, for eilde than fell
1630 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 265.
Better never [have] coft it, nor be in debt in eild

4. Old times; antiquity. c1450-2 Howlat 426.
Mony schen scheld … That bene cot armouris of eild
Ib. 594.
Of honorable ancestry thir armis of eld Bure the erll of Murray

5. An age of the world. c1420 Wynt. i. 287.
Nowe the fyrst eeld endys here
Ib. ii. 5.
Bathe the eldys has tane ende
Ib. 870.
The Scottis cummyn were … in the ferde eylde in Yrland
1490 Irland Mir. I. 129/2.
In the sext eild of the waurld … God tuk humanite
1513 Doug. vii. xi. 89.
Ceculus … Quham all eyldis reputis and schawis ws Engendrit was by the God Vlcanus
Ib. viii. vi. 34.
Quhil peis and peis, the elde syne war and war Begouth to wolx
1533 Boece xiv. xi. 563 b.
Ane faire lugeing … (as ȝeit in this eild may be sene in Antwarpe)

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"Elde n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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