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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.

Law, adv. Also: lawe. Compar. lawar, -er, lauer. [North. ME. law(e, midl. and south. lowe, loȝe, early laȝe, lahe (13th c.), f. Law,a. and n.4 Cf. also Lach, Laich, and Lauch.]

1. In or to a low position; also, (lurking etc.) low, in hiding.Freq. b. to lig or ly (also to lour) law, = prostrate on the ground (also prostrat law) or in the grave, and c. to lay (also to bere, bet, kast, smite and to bery, bygrave) law, by striking down or overthrowing, or in the grave.(1) c1420 Wynt. ii. 1341.
He bade his sone in to the flycht Hald ewyn in tyll a rawndown rycht, Noucht tyll hey … Na to law
Ib. v. 5410.
Wndyrnethe hys fete he sawe, Grawyn in fyne marbyr law, Off the cors a takyn welle
1456 Hay II. 143/25.
And it suld be law sett nere a water of fresch water
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. ii. 303.
Of the same sute the trappours law doun hang
Id. Æn. vii. Prol. 104.
Phebus … Haldand the hight all thocht the son went law
Ib. xii. xii. 27.
All thai als … The barmkyn law smait with the rammys fast
1535 Stewart 4761.
Mony cruell knycht Wes maid to kneill, and sum to licht full law
1600 Crim. Trials II. 298.
Sir Thomas Erskeyne and Doctour Hairreyis being standand law, heiris the samin, and cumis wp the foir entrie
(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 156.
Wyth-all the buwys bowyd lawe, Ewyn till hyr hand
a1500 Henr. Fab. 113.
Leuand this iowell law vpon the ground
a1500 Seven S. 1777.
Wnder the myrour lyis wele lawe Mair gold than all the hors will drawe
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxii. 118.
The Lord … Sall law under thy lyntell bow
1513 Doug. ii. viii. 22.
And other sum, law down within that hald, With drawyn swerdis stude reddy
Ib. iv. Prol. 39.
The god abuf, from his hie maieste … law in a maid dyd lycht
Ib. v. iv. 152.
Law fra the boddom of the seys deip Hys prayeris war except
Ib. vii. x. 96.
He … A sover swerd beltis law down by his the
1590 Burel Pilgr. i. xxiii.
The arrondell … Doun on the land richt law did licht
(3) 1375 Barb. viii. 474.
Thaim that war ere lurkand full law
c1475 Wall. iv. 430.
In a dern woode thai stellit thaim full law
Ib. vi. 627.
Full law thai crap quhill thai war out off sicht
Ib. xi. 602.
Thai … held them law, Quhill thai persawyt he was on sleping faw
1513 Doug. ii. ii. 143. c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 56.
Behind the bus, Lord, bot I liggit law
b (1) a1500 Henr. Lion & Mice 211 (B).
O lamit lyoun liggand heir so law
1535 Stewart 9405.
The castell als thai gart it lig full law
Ib. 25218.
On his bak scho gart him ly full law
Ib. 38720.
Mony ane tha maid full law to lour
a1540 Freiris Berw. 569.
Freir Robert stert abak and saw Quhair the gudman lay sa woundir law Vpoun the flure
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 8.
I, prostrat law, … as I lay
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xiv. 80.
The angel his trumpe sal blav & ger thame ryse that lyis law
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1529.
Qwhy lyis thy body now sa lawe?
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1125.
I lay full law, bot now I stand on fute
1513 Doug. xii. xi. 104.
Amata … now liggand law … hir self hes brocht of daw
1573 Sat. P. xli. 98.
This day in graue he lyis full law
c (1) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 268.
Bot gif I loissing my life, or be laid law
Ib. 726. 1513 Doug. v. xiii. 106.
My desyre was set Law fra the grond al Troy forto down bet
Ib. vi. iii. 33.
Triton … hym hyntis and did smyte Amang the fomy rolkis law adown
1535 Stewart 44637.
Quhen that the flude … Richt mony ludging law buir to the ground
(2) ?1438 Alex. IV. 442/27.
Quhen ȝe lawe ar laid in lame
a1568 Kennedy Bann. MS. 53a/33.
Law, luve and lawtie gravin law thay ly
1513 Doug. vi. ii. 150.
Hym … [to] gar bery law in graue
Ib. v. 174.
The pepil adiacent … sal bygrave thy banys law

d. To beir or set (a sail or sails) lawar, also to come lawer, to lower sail. Also fig., = Law a. 1 b. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 7394.
Gif tempest did appeir, Into that cace thair saillis the lawer beir
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlviii. 143.
Wp with ȝour sheats and haill them to the bes[t]; Come no lauer, bot luif a lytill we
fig. a1570-86 Maitl. F. cxlvi. 10.
Gif ȝe be wys avyse heiron And set ȝour sale a litle lawar

e. fig. Deep in the heart; (more) deeply, below the surface or what is superficial. 1513 Doug. xiii. iii. 37.
Wepyng from his hart ruyt waill law
1570 Sat. P. xiii. 10.
Quha that wald the mater vnderstand, He man luke lawer and enter in the spreit

2. (To bow, kneel etc.) low, in obeisance. c1450-2 Howlat 460.
Thar with he lowtit full lawe
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 991.
He gart thame law lout
a1500 Henr. III. 162/15.
We Thé exort, on kneis law prostrait
a1500 Seven S. 494.
To the empriour he knelit lawe
c1500 Fyve Bestes 61.
This ryall hart … Befor this Kyng he laid his tyndis law
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 98.
Everie blome … Full law inclynit to thair quene
Id. xiii. 20.
Sum beckis full law and schawis bair heidis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1025.
The childe he rais on his maist humbill wise, Inclining law with all obedience
Ib. 1040.
Doun of his hors he lichtit law On his kneis

3. Hye and law, wholly, entirely; also clene and law, see Clene adv. 2. 1375 Barb. iv. 594.
Bath hye and law, the land wes then All occupyit with Ynglis men
Ib. x. 471.
Quhen he saw The castell tynt, bath hye and law
c1420 Wynt. ii. 660.
This Gedeyl Glays, quhen he sawe The land off Egypt, hey and lawe That in all thyng wes profytabille

4. In a low or subdued voice, softly. 1375 Barb. iv. 200.
He wes sa stad that he na mocht His aynd bot with gret panys draw, Na spek, bot gif it war weill law
1513 Doug. xiii. ii. 65.
He … from the boddum of his breist weill law, With soft spech furth gan thir wordis draw

5. fig. a. In or into a low condition of fortune or spirits; humbled, downcast; humbly.(1) 1456 Hay I. 65/27.
All the contreis … that war rebellouris he put thame sa law that thame behovit obey
Ib. II. 57/17.
A vice that gerris oft tymes the curage of mony noble knycht descend full lawe
1513 Doug. ix. Prol. 16.
Oys not thy mycht abufe thyne awin degre, Clym nevir our hie, nor ȝit to law thow lycht
c1590 Fowler I. 194/8.
Puft with pryde I prostrat me more lawe
1596 Dalr. II. 176/9.
Angus and his fauoureris, that tha appeir not to humble thame selfes sa lawe and laich till Arran, vtterlie refuses the conditione
1587-99 Hume 12/9.
For get he a blast of adversitie, then is he dejected over lawe, & falls oftimes in mistrust
(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 3937.
To be kynd till yhoure creature That has yhow put in that honure, And hald thé law
1513 Doug. xii. ix. 47.
A puyr cote hous he held, and buyr hym law
1535 Stewart 20315.
Quhen ane man is heast on the quheill, He sould be wys and beir him self rycht law
Ib. 39800.
Quhy suld thow … stand of him sic aw, So blunt, so blait, berand himself so law

b. (To descend) lawar or to a less elevated literary style or treatment. 1513 Doug. i. Prol. 471.
Bot forthirmor, and lawar to discend, Forgeif me, Virgill, gif I thé offend

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"Law adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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