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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.

Lefe, Leif, v.1 Also: lef, leff(e; leiff, leife, leyf(f, leyiff, lewiff; lief(f; leaf(f, leafe; laif(f, layf; luif; leuiff. P.t. lefit, -yt, leffit; lefid; leif(f)it, leyffyt, laiffit; left(e, lefft, (laft); lef. P.p. lefit, laifit, laift; left(e, lefft, leift, leaft; leif. [ME. lef (a 1225), leffe (c 1440), lefe, leef (14th c.), p.t. lefde (a 1225), left, lafte (14th c.), p.p. lafte (1382), left (1478), var. of Leve v.1]

I. tr. 1. To leave (children, property etc.), behind one at death. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2662.
The king Is deid, and left of his ofspring Behynd him liffand sonnes twa
c1420 Wynt. v. 2640.
Coel deyd … And lefft a dochtyr
Ib. vi. 882. c1420 Ratis R. 1708.
Albert, the subtyll clerk, … left sindry experimentis
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 8/1.
[Christ] has left ws mony and syndry wayis medicinis and remedis
1513 Doug. xiii. x. 119.
With this the kyng Latynus can deces, And left the ceptre vacand to hys hand
1531 Bell. Boece II. 312.
To leif [M. leffe] succession of thy body
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 586.
As sall all wrachit churlis layf thair geir
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxiv. 10.
Thai rew To found ane pleye that euer thai pretendit Bot left it to thair airis to persew
1622-6 Bisset II. 84/2.
Gif any man deceise leifand guidis … behind him

2. To leave as a bequest, to bequeath (to the legatee or dat. pron.). Also to lefe legasy.(a) 14.. Acts I. 90*/2.
Of the part to tham pertenand thai leff to this gyld
a1500 Bernardus 373.
In freche memor befor infirmyte Thow sulde dispone and lefe legasye
1623 Orkney & Shetl. Test. I. 94.
He lefis to his said eldest sone his eldest merk
(b) 14.. Acts I. 90*/2.
Gif ony … in his last days of his gudis to the samyn gyld he oȝt leyff
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 225.
Sum men … has nother barne, brothir, na sistir to leif that [sc. property] to
1456 Misc. Bann. C. III. 99.
I … leyf to my said lord … xl pundis of the bonage grottis [etc.]
a1500 Seven S. 1109.
To God allmychti I leif my saull
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vi. 36.
Corpus meum ebriosum I leif on to the toune of Air
1525 Misc. Bann. C. III. 107.
To the quhilk lorde I geiwe and leiffis all the landis that I possessit
1547 Breadalbane Doc. 64.
Quhen ony of thaym decessis [he] sall leyf to me … ane cawylpe
1547 Misc. Spald. C. V. 314.
I leif amongst my servants iiiic merks
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2427.
Had I ten thousand pound … I wald leif all vnto ȝour awin persoun
1570 Inverness B. Rec. I. 196.
Gif the saidis personis vnder colour pretend to leyiff ony of the saidis gudis to the burgessis
1571–2 Wemyss Chart. 202.
Johne Wemis … siklyk leiffis in ligacie to thir personis following [etc.]
1572 Bann. Memor. App. 371.
The quhilkis cuipis … I leif in keping to the said Margaret
1612 Brechin Test. II. 230 b.
Scho lewiffis to Christane Mathow ane velves pairttleit
1622-6 Bisset II. 179/34.
I leif ȝou heir my blissing
1632 Bamff Chart. 229.(c) 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 1094.
To the howlet … I laif my gaye galbarte of grene
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1407.
He … left it, quhen he can disses, In till his kirk
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2667.
The kinryk of Crete he left To Leorta, his brothir, eft
c 1525–35 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. I. 55.
The barnis moder … at hir latter hour left hir kyndnes of the samyn [lands] to Andro Clerkson, faillande hir barne
(c) 1444–5 Peebles B. Rec. I. 9.
Buke, vestment, chalis and al other anowrnments left … til the said altar
1533 Boece viii. xii. 276 b.
Thay askit … bot the insicht and gudis left to thame in Kent
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 175.
That vmquhil maister Clement Littill … hes left ane sufficient nummer of guid and godlie buikis to the ministrie
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 319.
For making the same [monies] … furthcumand to the precise uses whairunto thay ar left and mortifiet

b. To leave as a testamentary instruction or request. c1420 Ratis R. 4.
Thi fatheris entent, To thé lefte in amendement
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1018.
To men and women I leif in commissioun In Ynglis or Latyne of thaim self to say [etc.]
1549 Glasgow Test. I. 49 b.
I leyff all my half of my hous to byde about my hous
1567 Sat. P. iv. 185.
To ȝow … of my deid innocent, For to reuenge I leif in testament My saikles bluid [etc.]
1584 Thanes of Cawdor xxv.
I leif the governament of my dochter Annas unto the said John
1597 Edinb. Test. XXX. 284 b.
Gif the said Gilbert hir father marie … than hir mother leiffis hir to hir sister

c. To leave, direct by testament, a person, (to be) one's executor or agent. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 34.
Becaus he was left tutour-testamenter be thair fader, he wald leif na thing undone that micht avance the commounweill
a1538 Abell 18 a.
He left his wife to gide thame … for sche wes werray wis and eloquent
1585 Thanes of Cawdor 186.
I laiff John Campbell … my only executor and I laiff him my soyne Coleyne
1590 Edinb. Test. XXII. 60 b.
He leiffis Bessy Carnagie his wife heid to the tak and the said Bessy Carnagey and George Walentyne … to be executours

d. To leave one's death upon a person: cf. Lay v.1 18 and Leve v.1 2. 1612 Crim. Trials III. 243.
Vpone Lambes day … he deceissit … and at the hour of his daith … left his deid, and the only cause thairof, vpone the said Johnne

3. To allow to remain in the same place or in existence, to refrain from taking away or doing away with. Also in the passive, to be left, to remain.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxv. 127.
The abbot … lefit a hole quhare men mocht Reke hyre mete
c1420 Wynt. ii. 1501.
Leffand noucht off it a crote
Ib. vii. 648.
Fewe he lefft To tak on hand swylk purpos efft
1513 Doug. Conscience 16.
Fra Sci of Science wes adew Than left thai nocht bot this sillab Ens
1533 Bell. Livy I. 97/10.
He gart leif wide boundis baith outwith and inwith the wallis, callit Pomerie
1562 Q. Mary Letter 5 Jan.
Rather than leif ony rute of breache
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xxvi. 23.
Commoun theiffis that leiffis nocht
1569 Sat. P. x. 374.
The pure durst leif thair bestiall on the grene
1581 Hamilton in Cath. Tr. 86/20.
Thou sal nocht leif my saul in hell
(2) c1475 Wall. i. 392.
Leiff ws sum part, we pray for cheryte
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcv. 38.
Thai leif thame nocht on bed nor bakis
(3) c1475 Wall. v. 1095.
No man of fens is left that house within
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxix. 4.
For left is neither corce nor cunȝie Off all that I tuik in the ȝeir
1513 Doug. iv. xii. 84.
[That] I may … se Gyf spreit of lyve left in hir body be
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1045.
Let not the fault be left into the head
1596 Dalr. I. 30/5.
Consumed throuch the gluttunie of men, only in thrie places is [the wild ox] left

b. With complements: To allow to remain in a specified condition, not to change from being as specified; also, to leif of. Freq. with negative pple., as to leave something undone, unsaid, etc.Cf. sense 5 d.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 234.
That scho wald tel hyr & lef vnsad til hyr richt nocht
(b) 1415 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 36.
And this ondir al pane that ma affer ye leif nocht undone
15.. Dunb. App. iv. 33.
Gif lytil rewarde be in wryting Bettir war leif my paper quhyte
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 156.
[I was] Full laith to leif our wark swa in the myre
1552 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 167.
That he gaif command to the said maister … to leif the said punsioun of gudis furth of the enteres
1583 Cal. Sc. P. VI. 350.
Leif of na gude meanys unused
1600 Crim. Trials II. 177.
Freindis that will nocht leiff it unrevangeit
(c) 1529 Red Bk. Menteith II. 392.
This in na wyse ȝe laif one done
(d) 1565 Irvine Mun. I. 52.
This on nayne wayis ye luif undone
(b, c) 14.. Acts I. 90*/2.
Bot gif thru negligence it be left vndone
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1639.
And the fadyr wes lefft lewand Efftyr the swne dede
c1450-2 Howlat 961.
Pryde neuer ȝit left His feir but a fall
c1475 Wall. ii. 170.
Scotland is left in cayr
1506–7 Treas. Acc. III. 274.
The laif of ribanes were left of the tua cradilles
1533 Bell. Livy I. 219/11.
Nane of thare surname left on life except ane ȝoung childe
1535 Stewart 26281.
The Britis … left thair barnis alway vnbaptist
1536–7 Sc. Hist. Rev. VII. 361.
The saidis tenentis … of neid fors had left the saidis landis unmanuritor plenist
1598 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 239.
The touns … heidding sword … left in his umquhill fathers hands
1609 Crim. Trials III. 15.
My lyff left in his Maiesties handis
1618 M. Works Acc. MS. XV. ii. 31.
To ane maisone for a dayes wark wes left out of the buik xij s.
(b) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 246.
That stane on stane … Suld nocht be lefit vncastyne done
Ib. xxxvii. 24.
Na of his lymmis wes a lith For torment lefit ane wthire with
c1420 Wynt. iii. 47.
[He] leyffyt it [the sword] stekand in his belch
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1694 (H).
Bewis bene laifit bair of blis Be wickit windis

c. To leave out, to omit. 1530 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 29.
To Thomas Inglis wrycht quha ves left out this last olk … to his wolkis vagis

d. To keep (information) from (fra) one. a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 405.
Na thing thu lef fra me!

4. a. To avoid or abstain from (certain conduct); also, to lefe of, and absol. Cf. sense 8. a1400 Leg. S. xiii. 199.
& fore to eg mene … to … do ay gud & leyf il
c1420 Ratis R. 1075.
The best remed of al sic thing War to lef of the bygynyng
1490 Irland Mir. fol. 356 b.
And the prince se aperandlie … that thar wauld folow mar lak … na proffit … than war bettir leif and nocht begin
c1500-c1512 Dunb. ix. 54.
To leif adultre, to covet no manis rent
a1578 Pitsc. I. 294/2.
Thairfor I consall ȝow to leif sic thingis [treason] in tymes coming

b. To disregard, direct the attention away from; also, to neglect, ignore, and to leff behynd. a1500 Bernardus 23.
Rewle of lyffe is nocht to leff behynde
1490 Irland Mir. I. 113/36.
Oft tymes necessite js … to lefe the wourdis of the law and folow the … entencioune of the … makare of the law
1533 Gau 83/22, 3. 1567 G. Ball. 82.
Do good for euill and leaf ȝour will

c. To neglect or fail or to omit or forbear to do something. a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 303.
Thi wyfe … That twyse has lefit to fulfill The thinge that I commawndit hir til
Ib. xxxii. 37.
The quhilk to wryt here lef I
c1420 Ratis R. 925.
To consail thé a vyf to take Or ȝit to leif, that I forsak
1456 Hay I. 272/25.
Gif the juge has left throu negligence to juge the expens, he aw … to pay thame him self
c1500-c1512 Dunb. vii. 85.
This tyme I lefe, for grete prolixitnes, To tell quhat feildis thou wan in Pikkardy
1577 Waus Corr. 142.
Thar is mony particularis quhilkis at the present I man leiff to wryit

d. To pass over, refrain from discussing (a topic). Also absol. as to leif of. a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 94.
Syne of ferlyis that war wrocht Be hir [Mary] in erd lefit I nocht
1456 Hay I. 191/31.
As lefand the opynyouns of oure maistris and doctouris, the quhilkis ar our subtil to understand
1573 Davidson Three Reformers 77.
Mony vane affectioun … I leif as thingis of no availl
absol. c1420 Ratis R. 670.
Fore thai ar to heir hatsome, Me lykis for to leif of as dwme

5. To leave or allow to remain (behind one), to go away without, to fail to take with one. 1375 Barb. xix. 584 (C).
Dowglas … abaid henmast to se That nane of his suld lefit be
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4227.
Behynd thaim thai lefft na thyng That thare battis away mycht bryng
a1500 Rauf C. 572.
Schir Rolland come rydand full sone And left the coilȝear to cum
c1475 Wall. vi. 615.
Palȝonis and all thai leiffit quhen thai fled
1531 Selkirk B. Ct. 155 (22 Nov.).
And quhen he pas fra it he sal leff ane stand bed, mortar troucht and chir
1533 Boece vii. xi. 244.
Graham … send ane power of the Insulanis, depute to kepe the cariage, chargeing thai suld leif the samyn and spede thame in reskewe of the vantgarde
1609 Crim. Trials III. 47.
Will ȝe ryid away and leif this bludie theif behind ȝou?
1622-6 Bisset II. 243/29.
It … sumtyme behuifed to cut sindrie cabillis and leif the ankeris and cabillis to saif the schip
1634 Dumbarton B. Rec. 45.
Ordered to find caution to lieff his victualls and butter and naways transport the same out of the kingdom

b. To go away from, depart from, quit (a place, thing, person etc.); also, to desert, abandon. Also absol. and transf.(1) (a) 1375 Barb. xviii. 448 (C).
He bad thame leiff the peth haly
Ib. xix. 421.
Thai trowit strenth and avantage Thai suld leyff and meit thame planly
a1400 Leg. S. vi. 7.
I wil thu fare Til Inde & lefit fore na thinge
c1460 Consail Vys Man 387.
Lef nocht a gud place … Fore hecht at may be maid to thé
c1475 Wall. x. 167.
The tothir Scottis … For disconford to leiff the feild was boun
1489 Acta Aud. 142/1.
The said Patrik … is content to leff red & woid it … in fauouris of the said partiis
1513 Doug. iii. ii. 147.
The sweit sawlis lefis the bodeis ded
1531 Bell. Boece I. xlii.
Thir fowlis … gif thay find thair eggis … twichit be men, thay leif thaim
1559 Cal. Sc. P. I. 260.
Saying that ye sall … constrayn us to depart and laif this our native realm of Scotland
a1570-86 Maitl. F. xlv. 56.
Leif never the hie gait for the by rode
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 50.
Gif hevin wer besyid hir and hell on the other syid scho wald laif hevin and loipp in hell
1622-6 Bisset II. 222/10.
Oftymes men feirand mischeif dois leif there schipis, and slippis away in there floit boit
(b, c) a1400 Leg. S. xxxviii. 593.
Scho … schippit sone & lefit the land
(b) 1375 Barb. iii. 245.
Quhen Hanibal saw this ferly … He left the toune
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1561.
Quhen he this warld had lefft Williame hys brodyr ras to be Kyng
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 71.
The tailȝeour … left his sadill … And to the grund he socht
1533 Bell. Livy I. 66/22.
The Albanis left my array and fled to the montanis but ony command of me
1535 Stewart 2079.
Leill lawboraris for law hes left the land
(c) a1578 Pitsc. II. 162/7.
My lord of Arrane … lef this duik-scheip of Chatellaroy and come … to Ingland
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 762.
For thi gret mercy leyf me nocht
Ib. xxx. 500.
Thu … That for thi wikit adultery Has lefit thi housband sc[h]amfully
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 951.
Leif nocht his luf for na delusioun
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 490.
My God, my God, quhy hes thow left me?
1568 Mary Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lviii.
For I uil not leif thame that hes not left me
1571 Events Q. Mary & James VI 65.
Thai wald al lief the advers faction
a1578 Pitsc. I. 122/9.
Quhen the Douglas wnderstude himself destitute and leift be money of his principall freindis
1601 Warrender P. II. 389.
Fy on thame that first leafes wthers
absol. a1570-86 Maitl. F. cxxx. 120.
Thocht vtheris luif and leif withall [etc.]
(3) transf. c1420 Ratis R. 1463.
Syk men thar trespas lewis nocht Bot it lef thaim quhen thai na mocht
a1500 Bernardus 72.
It [gluttony] leffys tham nocht quhill dede tham part

c. With complement specifying the place or condition of what is left behind. Also fig.(1) (a) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1366.
As alyene to leff me now Ymang vnknawine men
Ib. xxix. 390.
I treu he had als lef be ded As lef his wyf but remed
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 116.
For bering of the samyn [kist] to the Castell … quhen we durst nocht leff it in the toun
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 339.
He sall returne vpon his fute, And leif with me his armour bricht
1554 Grant Chart. 113.
Quhen scho … depertis fwrthe of Knokendocht … that scho sall laif in the sam all the … brewe lwmes
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 467.
Ȝe … That … helps him nocht bot layfis him mercyles
(b) a1400 Leg. S. v. 396.
He lefit hym with hym
?1438 Alex. ii. 4131.
He … leifit Floridas his feir In sic poynt as I tell ȝow heir
(b) c1420 Wynt. iii. 422.
He tyt wp that nayle wyth pyth And left bayth hare and threde thare wyth
a1500 Seven S. 1072.
Scho … past hir lust for to fulfill And left ald Ysak lyand still
c1552 Lynd. Mon. Prol. 148.
Phebus … Quhose … vestiment nocturnall … He lefte in tyll his regioun aurorall
(c) 1375 Barb. vii. 59.
Quhen he saw his lord swa stad That he wes left swa anerly [etc.]
Ib. x. 382 (C).
Richt as thai ky and oxin weir That war vnbawndonit left therout
1456 Hay I. 50/34.
Thare was left in the felde ma na xxv thowsand fechtaris
c1475 Wall. v. 424.
Scho saw … the Gask hall standand as it was left With out harme
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 874.
Thair lancis war loissit and left on the land
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 773.
They left thair awin schip standand waist And in the Inglis schip [etc.]
a1538 Abell 109 b.
Patrik Dunbar … quhilk wes left for deid & his fingaris cuttit
1571 Bann. Memor. 139.
I doubt not but faith and love is left in Machling, in wode of hardheidis, whair mony of your merchandis leivis thaire faith
(b) 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 26.
The King being fo tendir aige for that tyme and leif allane be the deceis of his brother
(2) fig. a1500 Henr. Fab. 606.
Leif we this wedow glaid … And speik we [etc.]

d. To put into, or leave in, the condition specified by a complement, on one's departure: cf. 3 b. c1420 Wynt. viii. 3697.
All the wallys thai kest down thare And lefft thame as befor thai ware
1425 Acts II. 12/2.
Gif the gouernouris of the toune be negligent … we lefe thaim in x lib. to the King of vnlaw
c1475 Wall. iv. 633.
Ȝit felle Sothron left the lyff to wed
Ib. xi. 560.
He had fer leuir de In till gud naym and leyff his ayris fre, Than [etc.]
1518 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 46.
The said Robert ... sall leuiff the said tenementis ... als gud ... as he fand the samen at his entraye
15.. Dum Wyf 94.
Tak quhat I haiff And leif hir as ȝe fand hir
1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 4.
[To] ceis fra all ferder occupiing thairof and leif the samin void and red
1582 Waus Corr. I. 238.
He vill care all avay, and leff the hows bare of insycht
a1605 Montg. Son. xli. 6.
My lyfe … from my body fled, And left my corps als cold as ony kie

Also e. in passive, To be brought in to a condition specified by a complement. ?1438 Alex. ii. 2803.
Quhen he is left at grit mistere
a1500 Rauf C. 817.
Thus war thay for thair forcynes left on fute baith
1531 Bell. Boece II. 300.
The croun wes left indegent throw ampliation of gret rentis to the kirk

6. a.To deposit or hand over (a thing) to remain after one's departure. Also transf., to leave (a mark). a1400 Leg. S. xl. 686.
As this done wes, in hert sare The bysnyne thing thai lefit thare [sc. on an altar]
1453 Douglas Bequest (No.108) xii. 1.
Lefand the sayd soume of mone behynd thaim vpon the he altar
1484 Buccleuch Mun. 82.
Cautionys and culrathis to leif and to fynd
1513 Doug. vi. x. 12.
Tha portis … Quhar our instructioun techis ws ful plane This presand thar to leifand goldyn grane
1521 Boyd Fam. P. No. 3 (3 Nov.).
To nowmer the sad sowme of sevine scor of merks apone the sad hie altare … and to ther leif the samyn stille
1587 Waus Corr. 385.
I haife maid my lattyr vill and left it in my lettere[= lettron, writing-desk]
1589-1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 76 a.
Thes is the countis and detis I haue laift with my wyfe
1593–4 Stirling B. Rec. II. 380.
To gif and leif ane pleg for redeliverance of the said balk
1664 Annandale Corr.308.
To be leaft with the postmaster of Edenburgh
transf. a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 777.
Thocht that hundis one ws bark & of thare tetht lef in ws mark

b. To install (a person or persons) to be in charge after one's departure. 1375 Barb. v. 461.
Ane of the Thrillwallis then He left behynd hym capitane
a1400 Leg. S. iv. 23.
James … purchasit discipulis nyne, Of quhilkis leffit he thar twa, Conqueste of sawlis fore to ma
c1420 Wynt. v. 3053.
Deputys behynd hym he lefft To keipe Brettayne till him thare-efft
1453 Douglas Bequest 10 June.
And her attour gif it happne me … to pas of the realme of Scotland nouch lefand assignys ane or ma behynd us
1478 Peebles B. Rec. 183.
That he mycht leif a chaplan in his sted to mak seruice sufficiand … becaus that [he] … schup to trawall in other contreis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 168/6.
The duik … fled out of his said castell and left men to keipt it

c. To leave (instructions) for after one's departure. 1572 Reg. Privy C. II. 152.
That thai sal … obey the King, his Regent and auctoritie, observe … sic order and directioun as his Grace and counsall sal leif toward the furthsetting of the Kingis … auctoritie

7. a. To relinquish, resign, demit (a possession or office) to another. 1500 Montgomery Mem. 59.
I … will … til … frelye deliur and leyf frame to the said Hew … the said ten pwndlandis
1511 Reg. Privy S. I. 346/1.
A licence maid to Deme Margrete Swyntoun … to resigne or leif hir said prioressy in the handis of the Pape
1557 Prot. Bk. W. Douglas MS. 294 b.
[To] resing, renunce, quhyetclam, laiff and ourgiff the saidis sex part landis … to the said James Dunbar

b. To hand over or commit (a person) to some charge. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 267.
Laif us nocht to our awin febilnes
1560 Rolland Seven S. 317.
Wald ȝe leif me ȝour ane sone for to leir

c. To refer (a question or topic) to another. ?1438 Alex. ii. 2092.
To ȝow … I leif the thochtis of amourous, For to that craft I am our ald
c1450-2 Howlat 631.
I leif thaim blasonde to be with harraldis hende
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 74 (L).
I leave to poyetis to compyle [etc.]
1631 Annandale Corr. 284.
I leif the sensour may be mad of it [an opinion] to your approweid iugisment

8. To cease, desist from, discontinue (some activity, occupation or undertaking); also, to leave off.Cf. sense 4 a.(1) (a) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 177.
Is this the maste That gerris thé … lef thi myrth & jolyte?
Ib. xxxvii. 25.
Quham-thru … men ware tacht to lefe syne
Ib. xl. 1285.
Tharfor lefis ȝoure crabitnes
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II. 257.
Thi falsaitt … may na wayis effraye me to lefe the defence of my native countre
(b) (c 1580) Alex. ii. 1947.
Leif ȝour thocht, To be our thochtfull it helpis nocht
c1450-2 Howlat 810.
The ravyn … Bad him his lesingis leif befor thai lordingis
a1500 Rauf C. 423.
Schir Rolland … bad him leif his courtasie and boun him to ga
1498 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 67.
Gif thai [craftsmen] occupy the merchandice, that thai leif thar craft
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxiv. 13.
Leif creuelte and saif ȝour man for schame
1537 Edinb. Hammermen 3.
That na vther master mesteris to leif his labour for inbringin heirof [sc. of the dues]
1562-3 Winȝet I. 18/5.
Bot sen ȝe haif harpit sa lang on that ane string … schaw it iustlie toneit or ȝe leif it
1567 Acts III. 24/1.
Thay ar … constranit to leif thair vocatioun
1570 Leslie 246.
That he suld leif, dimit & gif our the office of tutorie of the Quene
1622-6 Bisset I. 162/12.
How sone they understand thair clyenttis cause … to be unjust … they sall incontinent leift he samin
(c) 1570 Sat. P. xv. 11.
Thow camomylde, ȝe balme and mint, Ȝour fragrant odouris laif
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 24.
And having anys gustit how gude fischeing it is in drumly watter thay can on na maner laif ye craft
1601 Mackie Denmilne MSS. 39.
My broder is liklie to laiff his office
(b, c) a1400 Leg. S. vii. 826.
Sa abaysit thane war thai That thai lefte al & held thare way
1513 Doug. ix. vi. 10.
Desist, quod he, this mater mon be left
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 252.
The persewaris … left purpois and continewit still at the said seige
(2) a1500 Seven S. 1498.
He will nocht leif of lychtly syne
a1578 Pitsc. II. 143/2.
[To] leif of thair pryd and presumptousnes
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots 530.
The vnperfected work … wes left of
1585 Gray Lett. & P. 54.
I haue … left afe all particulair querell
c1590 Fowler II. 155/2.
It is a euil consell to abandon, neglect and leafe off better meanes for that conceate
1622-6 Bisset I.17/18.
He garte … stubbroun tirrantis to him bow, Leif of oppressioun

b. To stop or leave off (doing something), with obj. a vbl. n.(1) 1375 Barb. viii. 292.
He left his amonystyng
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 32.
Leif thy ryming, rebald, and thy rowis
a1540 Freiris Berw. 366.
The freir had left his studeing
1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 302.
Quhill I maye furnis an grot to speid your servis sall I nocht leif huisand me, as said is, to your auin weill
a1570-86 J. Maitland Maitl. F. lxxxviii. 65.
Thai will leif thair lein gat the last
(2) a1487 Gud Wife & D. 170.
Folk will nocht leiff of thar demyng
1589 Bk. Carlaverock I. 284.
To take speciall diligence that the committing of disorders by their men … be left off
1612 Brechin Test. II. 232.
The said George being agit … left of handling

c. To cease to do something; also to leave off.(1) 1568 Buch. Indict. 40.
Sche … never left to provock the ane agains the vther
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xciv. 88.
Leif, burges men, … On ȝour wyfis to mak sic coist
1609 Crim. Trials II. 582.
And heir I leif to truble your worship
(2) a1585 Maitl. Q. lxiv. 1.
Luiffaris leif of to loif so hie ȝour ladyes

d. absol., also const. fra the action.(a) (1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 886.
For-thi quhen the play best is, Best is to lefe than I-wyse
Ib. xii. 109.
Thane wald he oyse sic cruelte & wald nocht lefe for luf na thret
Ib. xxiv. 343.
Alexis … wrat … al the procese of the lyf … & plyit that bil, ore he wald leef, & it closyt in his nefe
a1500 Rauf C. 785.
That I for liddernes suld leif and leuand besyde
Ib. 823. a1500 Seven S. 1476.
Scho said, Douchter, leif for our blissing
1529 Stirling B. Rec. l. 35.
Till entyr ilk day in the morwyng at fiwe houris ... laif at alewyn hours at none and sewyn houris at ewyn
1536 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 318.
At thir four evinnis [he is] to leiff at xii houris and all utheris ewinnis to werk quhill ewyn
a1568 Scott xxxiv. 86.
Quhen thay begyn sic gawdis To leif [M. leif of] thay ar maist laith
1622-6 Bisset II. 243/6.
Gif they [merchants] will be contrare of the casting out … the maister … suld nocht leif, bot suld cast over samekill as he sall see neid
(2) c1420 Ratis R. 1029.
Quhat lord that can nocht veil do swa, Leif of and farly gang hym fra
a1500 Rauf C. 172.
Is nane sa gude as leif of, and mak na mair stryfe
1513 Doug. ix. x. 153.
Leif of my child, and of sic batale ces
1529 Selkirk B. Ct. fol. 138 a.
[That] outlandis burges … haldand boythis within the burgh, decest and leif off fra bying and selling
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xl. 1239.
Vith this he left nocht, bot efte can ban Sancte Niniane, the haly man
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1638.
Quhen that that tempest left
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 291.
[Eight persons] wes brint on the cheik … quhilk causit ane terrour … on the poore travelaris to come thairto, bot ȝit thaj left nor forburne [sic] not

e. absol. To stop, break off (in a course of action or a narrative). Of a legal action: To be suspended or interrupted. c1420 Wynt. ii. 910.
Quhare I left, now to begyn I have in purpos
1456–70 Liber Aberbr. 108.
[There] succedit tyll hyme ane othir lard and largly begwd quhar his predecessor lefte
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 2891.
Quhare Nimrod left, thare scho began
1570 Canongate Ct. Bk. 278;
Walknit … to proceid quhair it left in the actioun and caus persewit be Robert Lawsone
1622 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 25 Dec. 1622-6 Bisset I. 63/10.
Now returnand to my purpose anentis Makbaith quhair I left

f. To quit or relinquish the or one's life : (cf. Lese v.1 1 b) . 1375 Barb. xvi. 456 (E).
Weill neir all left thar livis
c1420 Wynt. v. 3654.
Fywe thowsand men … And wele ma thare lefft the lyff
?1438 Alex. ii. 1678.
Thame he ourtuke, the lyfe they left [: beft]
1595 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 78 b.
Donald Dow to be hangit … quhill he leif the lyfe

9. To forsake, cease to be an adherent of (a faith, allegiance etc.). 1375 Barb. viii. 19.
Thai of Cwnyngame and Kyle … Left the Ynglis menis fewté
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 532.
I red ȝou … Lef thi wikit fals belewe
c1420 Wynt. v. 2975.
Syne yhe … has tayne Crystyndome, And has lefft oure eldrys fay
1551 Hamilton Cat. 255.
Geve thi grace to Turkis, Sarracenis, Paganis and Jewis … to laif thair errour
c1615 Chron. Kings 33.
[The Picts] war mowit to leaff the herressie of Pelagius

II. intr. 10. To remain (behind or in a place or condition) .Chiefly in early texts.When the subject is a person, there may be ambiguity with Lefe v.3 (to live), on which see further that word. 1375 Barb. viii. 88 (C).
The belt brist of the brand That swerd and belt left in his hand
Ib. x. 131.
Bot thai that left apon the land Var to the King all obeysand
Ib. xi. 99 (E).
He had thar gaderyt sa clenly That nane left that mycht wapynnys weld
a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi. 560.
In Jerusaleme his hewide Wes gravine & lang tym ther lefid
c1420 Wynt. ii. 855.
Part off the Scottis yhit left in Spayn
Ib. iv. 1181. ?1438 Alex. i. 374.
Quhen I … Sall of this stalwart stour be gane Behind thair sall [pr. fall] nocht leif [F. remaindra] ane
Ib. ii. 340. Ib. 10663.
The madinnis with Porrus left allane
a1450 Fifteen Ois 58.
Thy handis … Wes persit and naillit on the croce And in thi wanis left na force
1457 Peebles B. Rec. 123.
That ilk dai custumaris gaif thair cont, and thai lefit in det of [47s. 2d.] … at the cont
c1420 Wynt. ii. 798 (W).
Quhen the Egiptis war Drownit in till the Reid Se The laif that laiffit [R. levyt, C. liffit] in that cuntre Banyst fra thaim a gentil man That wes amang thaim wonnand than
1533–4 Selkirk B. Ct. 177 b (24 Mar.).
Elesabecht Chepman … deliuerit thir gudis … to Peter Portuis … ane podir deych, … ane strip tub, the best about the hous, and it leif fra the kyrk, ane mortar stane

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"Lefe v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2023 <>



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