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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.

It, pron. Also: ite, yte. [ME. yt, it (c 1200), ME. and OE. hit: cf. Hit. A reduced variant is 'D.The possessive is most commonly expressed either by The or by the periphrases Thareof or of the samin or same, but see also 2 b and 3 below.]

1. In the usual pronominal uses, as subject or object.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 367.
He thocht Gyf euir it a spyrit be mocht That sa yt fenȝet for to pray
1490 Irland Mir. I. 12/15.
Souuerane wisdome … it is gottin be the inspiracioun of the Haly Spreit
a1500 Seven S. 1637.
To the ymag he gaf a blaw That furthwith in the fyre it fell
1513 Doug. i. viii. 59.
Considir frendly our mater quhon it standis
1540 Acts II. 373/2.
The croune of the sone is commounlie refusit … , it wantand ane grane of the wecht
1549 Compl. 57/14.
Ane eirb callit helytropium … , it hes the leyuis appin as lang as the soune is in our hemispere
a1578 Pitsc. I. 24/26.
The tendar ȝouth gif it be nocht brocht vp in the fear … of God
c1616 Hume Orthog. 28.
Nounes that want sex are noated with it; as, it is a tale tree
(2) 1375 Barb. xviii. 224.
Jhone Mavpas till the King had it [sc. the head] And he ressawyt it in daynte
1385 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 7.
This cause … , I made bodely fayth it ryhtwisly to deme
c1420 Wynt. I. 1363.
This Bretayne, Quhen Peychtys warrayd it stoutly
c1420 Ratis R. Prol. 2.
This buk, Thow … reid it oft
c1475 Wall. iv. 43.
Ye do vs wrang, and it in tyme of pes
a1578 Pitsc. I. 30/19.
Ane horribill pest … , all men … dieit the same day they tuik it

b. Referring to a matter under discussion or implied or expressed in the context, = that matter, that fact. 1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 44.
Syn that I clayme to be of kyn tyll yhow and it peraventour nocht knawen on yhour parte
c1420 Wynt. i. 169.
The Bybyll tellys it opynly. Thar-for I lat it nowe ga by
c1460 Consail Wys Man 391.
Ill neuer na seruand to thar lord, … Fore he wyll traist it is veisinge
c1568 Lauder Minor P. ii. 15.
The men quhome God has rychelie dotit … Chieflie protestantes, vat ws not [= note] it

2. a. After a preposition.Also commonly expressed by compounds with thare followed by the preposition as tharein, tharetill, tharewith, etc. a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 868.
I cane fond To that flume … & wesche in yt bath handis & face
1385 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 7.
The ta parte of this endentur in wytnesyng of al thyng in it contenyt
c1420 Wynt. i. 904.
Thar is that hill thai call Lybane And off it cummys the flwm Jordane
Ib. 941.
All Egyp … , Be est it lyis the Rede Se
Ib. 1501.
Leffand noucht off it a crote
1417 Acts I. 227/2.
That … yhe ger the forsaid bischop hafe his tend peny, distreignande for it be yhur selfe
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 219/16.
The sege that was liand about the castell … and Schir William … was in till it
a1540 Freiris Berw. 140.
Till it cowd scho say [etc.]
1567 G. Ball. 142.
Our lyfe we suld vay for it [: Lord]
a1578 Pitsc. I. 197/2.
This hielandman … seand the pailȝeoun and nane intill it

b. Of it, sometimes as a substitution for the possessive or genitive.More commonly expressed by thareof or of the samin or same. 1388 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 294.
All his land … with the pertenances of it
1398 Acts I. 211/1.
That he sai nocht vette his office na the execucion of it
1409 Exch. R. IV. ccxii.
As the nature of the band will, and with the counsel of the makaris of it
c1420 Wynt. I. 1126.
The wattyre of Ynde … On est half is the marche off it
Ib. 1143.
Cartage, … The wallys of it in brede abowt Off awchtene cubytys ware
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 111.
Quhill all the pennis of it outsprang
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (S.T.S.) No. 149 (MS).
A bannok is ane good beast, yow may eat the gutis of it on good fryday
1692 Presb. Eloquence (1693) 76.
The goose never rests, but constantly dips the gobb of it in the water

3. As a possessive, = Its.Of rare occurrence in the texts, but still common in dialect use in Sc. and northern Eng. in the 19th century. 1533 Gau 75/18.
The sinful hart … hes notht faith in it selff na cane notht haiff it of it aune natur na power
1563 Davidson in Misc. Wodrow C. 206.
The Romane Kirk hes receavit be it awin judgement, the commune translatione

4. a. As the subject of an impersonal verb. 1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 44.
I … gif it likis yhow requeris yhow of help
c1420 Wynt. I. Prov. 81.
Sympyll or sufficeand, quhether it be, To bowsumnes ay yhelde I me
1417 Acts I. 227/2.
To yhur bailyhis … & al otheris that it pertenys to
a1500 Rauf C. 27.
Ithand wedderis of the eist draif on sa fast It all to-blaisterit & blew that thairin baid
Ib. 786.
It war ane graceles gude that I war cumin to

b. In constructions where mod. Eng. usage requires ‘there’. ?1438 Alex. ii. 5606.
Sic ane ferly neuer it was
Ib. 10305.
It was na neid to bid him strike
1568 Lyndesay Pref.
It cummis to my memorie ane prettie trik, quhilk sumtyme I haue hard reportit of him

5. Taking the place of the logical subject or object in various periphrastic constructions.In such constructions the logical subject or object (generally an infinitive phrase or a clause) in normal (i.e. prose) usage mostly follows the verb.(1) 1375 Barb. xvii. 24.
It wes richt ane angry thing Ay swagat till reboytit be
1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 33.
Gif it happynnis the aire of my bodi male … to faille
1416 Liber Melros 539.
It sal be lefull to the said abbot and conuent
1417 Acts I. 227/1.
It is nocht our entent … til trete
1430 Coll. Aberd. & B. IV. 391.
Be it made kend til al men
a1500 Henr. III. 141/49.
Bakbyttaris to heir it is no bourd
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 215/3.
It is to wit that the Scottis regnit befor the Pictis
a1568 Scott xxxiv. 121.
Quhair lechery belappis, All steidfast lnve it stoppis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 15/17.
Money gret dissentiounis rais … , bot it is wncertaine quha was the mowar
(2) 1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 44.
[He] spouses ane other wif as it ys said
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 289.
Now may it heir be sperit and demandit
a1578 Pitsc. I. 26/5.
It is supponit he thocht … to hane had sum reull in the realme
(3) 1400 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 44.
I schew it to yhour lordschip be this my lettre
?1438 Alex. ii. 208.
I ȝarne it maist of ony thing
Ib. 3578.
Ideas, that knew it wele Apartly of the ielusy
a1578 Pitsc. I. 19/4.
Quhat euer he purpoisit to do he set it out vnder the pretence of the King

6. As antecedent pron. followed by the relative expressed or understood = that (which), what. a1400 Leg. S. vi. 396.
Wyt is that gerris thé fynd ite That thu lerit nocht
?1438 Alex. i. 3006.
On his sadill thai him set, And it that was to beit thai bet
1456 Hay I. 154/34.
I … takis fra him it that he wald have tane fra me
c1475 Wall. x. 214.
Sa I war fre off it that I said ayr
1506 Treas. Acc. III. 349.
To Thomas Peyrson … to pas in the [Le]wis, and for it he wantit the last viage he wes thare
1535 Stewart 36695.
It that tha wyn at our plesour to spend
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xiv. 11.
Off it thow heiris he nocht ane clatterar

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"It pron.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Feb 2024 <>



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