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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Harm, n. Also: harme, harame; hairme, hearme; herm(e, heirm. [ME. harm, herm, OE. hearm, ON. harm-r (= grief, sorrow; rarely, harm, hurt).]

1. Injury (physical or otherwise) done to or suffered by someone; hurt, damage. Also pl.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 314.
God had sawit thaim fra that harme [sc. from the dragon]
1456 Hay I. 29/30.
To … kepe thame sekirly fra all harme
1513 Doug. ii. ix. 66.
A dart … in the scheild dyd hyng Bwt ony harm or other dammagyng
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1553.
Quhairof greit harme … come to the pure
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 30.
Thay could nowther do the said harme in hir persoun
1615 Highland P. III. 209.
To assist him … and defend him from harame
(b) a1585 Maitl. Q. lxi. 59.
Ȝe knaw quhat hairme he hes susteind
1613 Crim. Trials III. 261.
Poysone … quhairthrow ony Cristiane man … may take hearme
(c) 1570 St. A. Kirk S. 344.
Sche kapit na herm thairthrow
a1578 Pitsc. I. 174/2.
Bot heirm of his body
Ib. II. 164.
The quein … went throw many tounis and did gret herme thair
1580 Douglas Chart. 279.
His skaithe, herme, perrall [etc.]
1605 Stewart Mem. 114.
Thair bodely herm and slawchter
1630 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 264.
Such devyssis may do you herme
(2) 1456 Hay I. 185/14.
To reforme all harmes and scathis that suld be done throu his men
Ib. 233/13.
Bot mare honour war to kepe thame [women and children] fra harmes
c1475 Wall. v. 700.
Her I heseik … Yhe charge me nocht with no wngudly harmys
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 382.
Thair suld no man do him harmes
15.. Clar. v. 1238.
No worschip war ȝow to, Unto thir knights more hermis [for] to doe

b. plur. Hurts or wounds, received or inflicted. ?1438 Alex. ii. 8990.
Sa mekill harmys thare thay wrocht, And sa vndemous rout is rocht
c1450-2 Howlat 542.
Syne reskewand it [the heart of Bruce] agane the hethin mennis harmes
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 674.
Than thair hors vith thair hochis sic harmis couth hint
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 8.
Hell sould nocht hyd thair harnis fra harmis hynting
1533 Bell. Livy I. 1/1.
The horribill batellis and the bludy harmes … of Romanis

c. A (non-physical) injury or mischief sustained; a wrong. Chiefly pl. ?1438 Alex. i. 3021.
Sen thow hes sic inuy To venge my harm
c1420 Wynt. viii. 2016.
Willame Walays … Sum off thare harmys he thoucht to qwyte
c1475 Wall. i. 182.
Willȝham Wallace … Gret pitte thocht that Scotland tuk sic harmys
Ib. v. 22.
All likly men to wrek thaim of thar harmes
1513 Doug. i. iv. 108.
Now Amycus harm complenys he, Now … the cruell fate of Lycus
1535 Stewart 47993.
Of injuris for to revengit be, And greit harmis
c1550 Lynd. Test. Meldrum 103.
Ane band Of nobill men, abill to wraik thair harmes
1570 Leslie 90.
We wor contentit to haif oure seyne our harmeis
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxvii. 61.
Mony noble natioun … That for to help thair harmes [Q. hairmes] and hurt at hame Fechit forane forcis

2. Pain, suffering, distress, grief. Also pl.(1) c1450-2 Howlat 735.
Haile our hope and our helpe, quhen that harme alis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 222.
Me think ther haldin ȝow a hete, as ȝe sum harme alyt
a1568 Scott xiii. 22.
I mon my harme reweill To ȝow, … quha ma my baill beit
1570 Sat. P. xiii. 197.
Sic hauie harme sall happin to ȝour hart
(2) 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 146.
I red hys wark with harmys at my hart
Ib. iii. x. 115.
Thir harmys smert
Ib. viii. vii. 84.
The plesand natural sleip, to beit his harmys, … can he tak
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 176.
He … That hir releuit from hir harmes
Ib. 959.
Madame, … ȝe mon releif my harmes
a1605 Montg. Sonn. xxxvi. 10.
I haif no hurt, and ȝit my hairt hes harmes

b. In exclamations or statements expressive of grief or regret. 1513 Doug. ii. v. 44.
Ha! walloway! quhat harm and wo eneuch
Ib. iv. Prol. 81.
O God, quhat harm! thar wes he drynt and slane
1535 Stewart 516.
Ȝit harme it wes sic duchtie men suld de
Ib. 2489.
Greit harme it wes in hart thame for till heir

c. To make harmis, to make lamentation. a1400 Leg. S. v. 68.
Mony ane Of hir kine … Folowit hyr, makand harmys

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



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