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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.

Gentil(l, a. Also: gentyll, -tile, -tle, jentill. [ME. gentyl, -ile, gentil (a 1225), OF. gentil.]

1. Of persons: Of good birth and breeding; having the qualities of one well-born or bred. Freq. as an adj. of commendation, esp. with knicht. a1400 Leg. S. iii. 51.
A gentill ȝong man … Come, & with hyme duelling mad
Ib. xlv. 1.
The gentil virgine, S. Cristine
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 215.
Thus in Colkas, the nobile ile, Is enterit Jasone, the gentile
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1530.
Off gentyll knychtis … Thre hundyr deyd in that batale
Ib. vii. 3423.
Mony gentill Inglis men Drownyd was
?1438 Alex. ii. 1515.
The gentill empriour of Grece
Ib. 10501.
The gentill renouned king
a1500 Henr. Orph. 32.
A godesse … excellent of beautee, Gentil of blude
Id. III. 157/44.
Quha can absolue … quhilk of ws of kin was gentillar?
a1500 Rauf C. 182.
The gentill king, Charlis of micht
Ib. 344.
The gentill bischop Turpine cummand thay se
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 331.
With euery bonte belangand a gentill wycht
Ib. xi. 101.
Heir mot be … gentil Juno to ws fauorabill and meik
1558 Inverness B. Rec. I. 23.
He sayd … he wes ane gentellar man nor Thom Flemyng
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 34.
Thair is ane kynd of thair thevis evin odious to mair gentill thevis
absol. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1201.
In sight of his souerane, this did the gentill
a1500 Seven S. 536.
For gentill and sempill als he slewe
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxii. 32.
All vdir man, Gentill and semple of euery clan

b. Used by way of compliment in addressing a person. ?1438 Alex. i. 480.
Gang to the king, gentill barroun
Ib. 1912.
Now, gentill lordis, turne agane
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiii. 78.
Keip this all secreit, gentill brother
1513 Doug. iii. Prol. 30.
Gentill curtas redaris, … I ȝow beseik to gevin aduertens
15.. Clar. i. 480.
Have mercie on me, jentill knicht
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 684.
O gentyll redar, haif none indignatioun
a1578 Pitsc. I. 5/19.
I exhort ȝow, gentill readdaris [etc.]

c. Of animals: Of a good breed or kind. c1460 Consail Wys Man 162.
Gentill hund gyrnis or he byt
a1500 Henr. Fab. 402.
Ane cais I fand … Betuix ane foxe and ane gentill chantecleir
c1500 Fyve Bestes 127.
On fut than gat this gentill vnicorne, This gentill best this king he come beforne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxii. 14.
The gentill goishalk gois vndynd
Ib. 26.
O gentill egill, how may this be?
1513 Doug. iii. vi. 223.
Rych rewardis he gaif … ; Tharto also he eikis and gaif ws then Gentill horsis
Ib. viii. ix. 24.
Till Eneas … thai gaif A gentill steid
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 157.
The gentill hound wes … with the kingis awin fingeris fed

d. Of a family or kindred. c1420 Wynt. iv. 1971.
He may … grow in gentill kyth and kin
Ib. viii. 6988.
Na drope … Of blud cummyn off gentill kyn

2. Characteristic of, natural or appropriate to, one of good birth or disposition.(1) 1375 Barb. vi. 225.
His gentill hert and vorthy Assurit him in-till that neide
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 177/24.
Worthiness allway is sweit and gentill to noble and liberall men
a1500 Bk. Chess 11.
Of the grevous passioun malancoly, That bene all gentill hertis werray deid
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 321.
Gentill ingynys, and breistis curageus
Ib. x. xi. 29.
Now sall he … sched his gentyll blude sa pacient
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 39.
In gentill wise thay him contersalued
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 5566.
This vow is gentill to my sicht
a1500 Bk. Chess 44.
Schawin sall be … Vnder quhat king this gentill sport began
Ib. 70.
The gentill sporting of the ches
a1500 Seven S. 412.
Gret cost thairon wald he mak And gentill jornais wndertak
1567 Sat. P. iii. 28.
In gentill featis ferand for ane king
Ib. v. 85.
Exerce your selfis in gentill weir
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 22.
Considder how mony gentill and honest meanys ye haif socht in tyme bipast

3. Of a pleasant, mild, or kindly disposition. 1456 Hay I. 159/22.
He is nocht gentill, na courtas, na worthy man of were
Ib. 237/32.
Thai ar gentill and courtas to men of kirk
a1500 Henr. Orph. 65.
No wounder is thocht he was faire & wise, Gentill and full of liberalite
Id. Test. Cress. 326.
Fair Cresseid … Quhilk was sa sweit, gentill, and amorous
a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 67.
This young maid … so fair and … gentill in all hir gestis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 96/6.
Our maist noble, humane and gentil souerane
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xiv. 66.
Be gentill, lawlie, and meik in thyn estait

4. Of things: Distinguished in respect of value, beauty, or excellence. a1500 Henr. Fab. 79.
O gentill jasp, o riche and noble thing
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxiv. 11.
I dout that Merche … Hes slane this gentill herbe
1513 Doug. xiii. Prol. 156.
I … saw gentill Jubar schynand, the day star
15.. Lichtoun Dreme 90.
Thir auld carlingis clames That gentill aill is oft the caus of dremes

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"Gentil adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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