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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.

Kne, Kney, Knie, n. Also: knee, knye, kené, keinie. [ME. kne, cne, kneo, cneo, OE. cnéo, ON. kné, ME. also knew, cnew, OE. cnéow.]

1. The knee, of a person (also, of an animal).(a, b) 1375 Barb. xi. 366.
Pottis … Var deip vp till ane manis kne
a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 845.
Thane begane his kneis to quake
c1420 Wynt. iv. 257.
That watter … Hyr [a woman wading] kneys off it suld noucht be wate
1481 Acts II. 132/2.
Thaie jakki [to be] syde to the knee
c1500 Crying of Play 71.
Sevyne dayis saling betuix hir kneis [B. kneyis]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. liii. 12.
Ane strummall awer That hap schackellit war abone the kne
1590–1 Crim. Trials I. 235.
[The Devil] markit hir in the rycht kne
1612 Ib. III. 243.
He … with his kneyis and feit possit him
1662 Ib. 609.
I forbid the qwaking-feavers … owt of the kneyis
(c) a1578 Pitsc. I. (1814) xxiii.
The … wyld Scottis … going bair legged to the knie
Ib. (S.T.S.) I. 117/21.
[He] baid him sett thame to his knie and brek thame
1589 Digest Justiciary Proc. M. 3.
The hurting of George Dauidsoune in his knie
1627 Justiciary Cases I. 68.
The said George his left leg and knie thairof
1678 Dunkeld Presb. I. 209.
Sick of the gutt in his knies

b. On or upon (apon) the knee, or lap, of a person. a1400 Leg. S. xiii. Prol. 84.
Sancte Johnne … Restand his hed one Cristis kne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 425.
Then lay I furtgh my bright buke on breid on my kne
Id. xxii. 61.
In ȝowth on nureis kne
1622 Elgin Rec. II. 174.
Hepburne pat his thie to stay Martein … and said to him, ‘Will thow sitt on my knie, kneaff?’
1629 Justiciary Cases I. 109.
Ane taikin of nychtbourlie kyndnes in taking the bairne upone the pannellis knie

c. Attrib. in knie kirtill, = one reaching to the knee. 1517 Wigtown B. Ct. 71 a.
The vrangus haldin fra hir of ... ane knie kyrtyll the price x crounis
1562 Inverness Rec. I. 91.
Ane knye [pr. kuye] kyrtill to William Ardis dochtyr price xl s. and to hyr fee x s., and ane noreis xl s., for ane knye [pr. kuye] kirtill xvj s. viij d.

2. The knees as used in kneeling (as in prayer, adoration, self-abasement, etc.).a. (To bow, bend) the or one's knees. b. On or apon, upon (one's) kneis or kne. c. With verbs, esp. to fall, knele, sit (doun) (on (one's) kne(is): see also Cour v., Fall v. 1 b, Get v. 5. d. (To raise a person) af his knie.a. a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 1091.
Thane the puple can kneis bou, Thankand God
1535 Stewart 37775.
[To] call him schir, bekkand with bayth his kneis
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxx. 31.
I … The goddes sall adoir On bended kneis and handis vpset
fig. 1567 G. Ball. 51.
The kneis of my hart sall I bow
b. (1) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 665.
The prince … & al thai knychtis apon kne Ennornyt hym
(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 3443.
Sum on kneyis in vrisoun
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 129.
Thai … nocht our oft creip the cors one kneis
a1500 Henr. III. 162/15.
We Thé exort, on kneis law prostrait
c1475 Wall. i. 323.
His houch senons thai cuttyt … On kneis he faucht
a1500 Seven S. 2704.
The moder the towall on kneis fet
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 325.
Cum to the croce on kneis and mak a crya
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1616.
The empreour … To quhome he gaue on kneis greit reverence
(3) c1500 Makc. MS. xii. 39.
That I ma sing in hewyne apone my kne
a1500 Colk. Sow ii. 17.
Innocentlie scho salust on hir kne This … foirsaid Colkelbe
(4) 1472 (1476) Reg. Great S. 257/2.
Archibald … appone his kneis resignit … al richt
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 184.
Cry mercy on thy kneis
Id. lxii. 2.
For your grace … Richt hartlie on my kneis I pray
1596 Dalr. II. 5/32.
Vpon thair knies to wirschep the image of Chryst
1608 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 293.
To cum … to the croce … and vpone his kneyis to delyver the dager … to the said baillie
1630 Justiciary Cases I. 143.
Alexander Hammiltoun warlok … prostrat upone his kneyis … approvet his haill depositiones
1662 Crim. Trials III. 616.
Ve wer al on our kneyis … looking on the Divell
c. (1) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 725.
Thar one my kneys I fel done & … mad myn oracione
a1578 Pitsc. I. 60/25.
He fell doune wpone his knies and streikit forth his craig to the sword
1596 Dalr. II. 5/35.
Quhen the Inglismen seis the Scotis fal on knies, they crie a larum, that the Scotis on knies had randiret thame selfes
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 670.
In the tempil … He knelyt on his kneis bath & prayt God
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 199/17.
Quhen ony Ynglis man met ane Dene … he knelit down on his kne
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6976.
Law kneilling on his knie
(3) a1400 Leg. S. iii. 905.
Schow on kneys dewotly sat done
c1420 Wynt. v. 17.
Ane ox … and ane as … dyd Hym that honowre That on kneys ay ware thai Syttand
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1159 (B).
Heir sall Veretie sit doun on hir kneis [Ch. knies] and say [etc.]
c1552 Id. Mon. 2343.
Quho that sittis doun on thare kneis Prayand tyll ony imagereis
15.. Clar. iv. 2616.
To hir he sate on kneis adoune
1573 Dumfries & Galloway Antiq. Soc. XXXV. 114 (3 Ser. XXI) .
[They] obedientlie satt done on thair keneis
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 90/26.
Sitting doun vpon thair kneyis
1624 Elgin Rec. II. 184.
Jeane Kay … is ordenit to sitt on hir kneis … at the gowis
(4) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 119.
One kneys done cane scho ly, And kissit his kneis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 24/21.
Pilgrimage, prayer, puttand thé on thi kneis, liftand thi handis [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1040.
Doun of his hors he lichtit law On his kneis
d. 15.. Clar. iv. 1488.
Scho … said … I heir, forgeive ȝow sall, And af his knie thair raisit him

3. The knee of hose or trousers. 1503 Treas. Acc. II. 232.]
[For half ane elne scarlet, to be hos, fra the kne up, to the King, … For tua skinnis of Danskin ledder to the said hos fra the kne doun
1539 Ib. VII. 172.
For xxviij poyntis to the kneis of the said hois and abone
1578 Edinb. Test. VI. 232 b.
Ane pair of hois … lous at the kney
1589 Treas. Acc. MS. (1588–90) 165 b.
Ȝallow and reid ribbenis to the kneyis of thair breikis
1640 Tailor's Acc. Bk. B. 38.
For ribins to the keinies of the breikis
16.. Bk. Dunvegan I. 206.
For … knyttings to the breik knies

4. A knee or piece of naturally bent timber used in shipbuilding. = Kne-hede n. 1512–3 Treas. Acc. IV. 466.
For xij kneys for the galay, the pece iiij d.
1513 Ib. 496.
For kneis and irne werk to hir
1646 Skipper's Acc. (Smettone) 21.
For ane kney to the rudder 3 li.

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"Kne n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Mar 2024 <>



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