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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.

Honest, a. Also: honnest. [ME. honest (a 1300), OF. honeste, L. honestus.]

1. Of persons: Of good character and standing; respectable, worthy.(a) c1420 Wynt. iii. 1046.
Symon Brek … Ane honest man and of gude fame
1456 Hay I. 63/2.
He was bathe honest and honourable, curtais and free
Ib. II. 41/2.
[Squires] vertuouse, honest, and of worthy curage
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 555.
For lufe of me thow keipt gude continence, Honest and chaist in conuersatioun
a1500 Seven S. 2599.
This child sa courtly & sa honest, He wox & bure him to the best
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 485.
Fra honest folk deuoide this lathly lown
1545 Elgin Rec. I. 82.
Ane honest, substantious gentleman … and gyll brother off the said brugh
1562 Peebles B. Rec. 288.
The counsale ordanis four or fife of the honestest men pas done to the Quenis grace to playnt apone Gledstanis
1574 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 19.
The almes … sall be gevin to honest decait personis and not to commond beggaris
1596 Dalr. I. 280/6.
Gregorie, … his elegant maneris maist cumlie, nane honester
1644 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. VIII. 28.
Ane honest young woman of good reputation
1649 St. A. Baxter Bks. 119.
If he leiwit sewin ȝeir he wald be ane honester man nor ony baxter in St. Androis
absol. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1194.
Quhen this auenand and honest had maid this ansuer
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I. 24/33.
Gif this ȝoung gentillman haid cum in godlie and honnest companye
1586 Rep. Menzies MSS. 40.
To the vtter wrak … of mony honnest houshaldaris
1615 Highland P. III. 238.
Ane reproof … that he had betrayit the honnest men that lyppinit in him

b. Of a woman, in the phrase implying marriage (recorded in Eng. use from 1629). 1562 St. A. Kirk S. 145.
Sche refused otherwayis to consent, except he wald mak hyr ane honest woman

c. Honourable, honest. 1533 Gau 23/16.
Thou sal … be cleyne in thocht and honest in wark
1633 Rep. Maxwell Stuart Mun. 4.
He prouing himselfe an honnest man … I shall make good all those preceps that I have promised

2. Distinguished; making a good appearance, welldressed. c1420 Wynt. vii. 6.
Kyng Malcolme … Come wyth ane honest court to Skowne
Ib. 1169.
Through the land traweland … With honest curt and cumpany
1474 Reg. Cupar A. I. 194.
Tha sal be honest in thar clethyng
1533 Bell. Livy I. 25/1.
He made him in all his abulȝementis mair honest than afore
c 1555 Edinb. Hammermen 3.
That na maner of seruand be fund on Corpus Christi day … excepand thai be honest in thar clething efferand to thar estatis

3. Of a high quality or standard in appearance or excellence. c1420 Wynt. ii. 718.
His body wytht honowre Wes put in tyll honest sepultoure
Ib. iv. 1570.
He made knychtis … And thaim arayid in honest wede
Ib. vii. 1994.
Cled … in honest kyngys aparale
1433 Liber Coll. Glasg. 167.
The said Priour … sall byg … an honest hall chamir
1508 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 114.
At the sellaris thairof be honestlie habilleit … with honest apronis
1526 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. 155.
Our collectour … sall ȝeirlie sett ane honest stuill apoun the said Jhonis sepultur … and sall find sax honest wax candillis to birne on the stuill
1531 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 53.
For his wpset till pay fyf pundys … with an honest dennar to the sworne maisterys
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 52.
Twa ȝoung ȝounkeirs, perfite at all pointment, In riche array, and honest ornament
1570 Misc. Spald. C. II. 277.
Andro … salbe sufficientlie bodin tharto in armour, wapinnis, and honest abulyementis
1614 Lett. & State P. Jas. VI 219.
Ane brodered poolke for carieing the greate seale … , werie magnific and honest

4. Of actions, conduct, conditions, etc.: Commendable, creditable. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 992.
It was graunted at thar request, Sene they thought it was honest
c1420 Wynt. iv. 765.
It is myn honest det For my land my lyff to set
Ib. vii. 610.
Clene and honest wes hys lyff
1456 Hay I. 134/6.
It is bath rycht and honest … to … gaynsay all injure or violence
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 168.
[To] play at honest play
a1500 Seven S. 1492.
To luf it war fer honestare Ane knycht or ellis a gaye sqwyare
1513 Doug. ix. Prol. 24.
Kepand honest wys sportis quhar thai bourd
1531 Bell. Boece I. 24.
Thay … hes reuthfully desirit your peace, mair necessar than honest to thaim
1549 Compl. 79/2.
Al ȝour honest policie sal be aboleist
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xv. 74.
Burges wyffis … Thriftie and of honest lyveis
Ib. xxix. 58.
I luif the vertew honest chaistitie
1596 Dalr. I. 34/4.
Is [it] nocht honest, that euerie craft … occupie his awne gait asyd?
1622-6 Bisset I. 104/12.
The gift of all benefices, … to be assigned to the honest sustentatioun of the said college of iustice

5. Comb. with -hairtit (e.m.E. -hearted, 1599), -like. 1589–90 Ayr B. Acc. 165.
For the sustentatioun of twa honest lyk pure men, suldartis come out of France
1591 Crim. Trials I. ii. 246.
Foure honestlike womene wer very ernist and instant to haif itt
1622-6 Bisset II. 221/29.
That twa or three of the prisoneris, maist honest lyke, be brocht … befoir the skipper
1620 Melrose P. 374.
All honnest hairtit subiectis will kyithe thair goode affectionis

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"Honest adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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