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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.

Litil(l, Lytil(l, Littil(l, Lil(t)le, adj., n. and adv. Also: -ille, -ile, -yl(l, -yle, -el(l, -ele, lytt-, lyitil(l; lyt(t)le, littl(l; letill, -le, lett-, leitell; laytille, layttil(l. [ME. litell (Orm), litel, -il, lytyll, and littl- (Orm), littel (Cursor M.), also west. and south. lutel (12th c.), lutle, luytel, luitel (14th c.), and luttel (Layamon), OE. lýtel, ONorthumb. lyttil (and cf. also the synonymous ON. lítell).The prevalent form with shortened initial vowel, perh. follows on the syncope of the medial vowel in OE. inflected forms. The variants represented by the spellings lyitil and letill, leitell respectively were appar. less common.]

The compar. litler occurs only rarely, the compar. and superl. being supplied by Les adj. and Leste adj.

A. adj. 1. Of material things: Small in size, not large or big.Also with superl. meaning, as in litill ta.(1) 1375 Barb. iii. 417, 9.
A litill sonkyn bate … [That] sa litill wes that it Mycht our the wattir bot thresum flyt
a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 498.
A lytile ile
14.. Acts I. 672/2.
Of a litill schip
?1438 Alex. i. 1113.
At ane lytill burne passing, His hors him failȝeit of leping
Ib. 1209.
The wound was litill
1448 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 17.
And ane other litil sclate house liand in the Chekar
1481 Grey Friars II. 129.
A lytil haddok vij pennyis
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 34.
The Kingis wellus cote that wes our litill
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4521.
Ane bonie lytill kie
1664 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 518.
For a paire of French litill sweet gloves to his lordship
(b) 1545 Aberd. B. Rec. MS. XIX. (Jam.).
Ane mekill leid, ane littill leid
a1540 Freiris Berw. 177.
Throw the burdis he maid with his botkin A littill hoill
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 263.
Better a littil fyr that warmes nor ane meikl that burnes
1636 Dumbarton B. Rec. 50.
For ten sh. and a lyttil lok meill
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I. 223.
Betwixt the twae knoles or littll hils
(c) 1562-3 Winȝet II. 6/10.
A litle, partie, handsum instrument
Ib. 58/12.
Litle ar the membris of infantis
1662 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 491.
That their be ane little key builded at the Broomelaw
1700 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 330.
In the litle dask befor the loft door
(d) 1585 Elphinstone Mun. 22.
In the letill wolt under the greit hall
1587 St. A. Baxter Bks. 42.
The keyis of the letle boxe
1611–12 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 339.
Five lettell wondoks of new glas
1647 Galloway P. 11 Aug.
A letle croft … called Quhirlies croft
(e) 1644 11th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. vi. 56.
Soum layttil siluir poringgers
(2) 1375 Barb. v. 169.
The King … of Yngland Thoucht that the kinrik of Scotland Wes to litill to hym and me
1533 Boece 6.
Britouns subiectit … and na litill parte of the kinrik fra thame bereft
1596 Dalr. I. 33/22.
The schirrefdome … of Perth is nocht litle, bot ample indede and large
1688 Cramond Kirk S. II. 6 May.
That roume between the pulpit & Murhouse seatt … being to little
(3) 1456 Hay II. 47/14.
Thare is gevin to the knycht his lytill schort suerd
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. vi. 238.
Lapidosa, full of littell small staines
1650 Nicoll Diary 13.
[Montrose] his body cassin in to ane lytill schoirt kist
a1699 Skene Agric. MS.
A kow hes four paips and som littill small paips
1674 Cunningham Diary 33.
For 2 snecks and 2 locks, 6s. 8d., Other little small things, 7s.
(4) 15.. Lichtoun Dreme 17.
I tuik my lytill ta in to my mouth
1532 Hannay College of Justice 59.
[The king's] grete seil, his privie seil, and his litil signet
1579 St. A. Kirk S. 441.
To cum euerie Sounday to the little kirk dure at the secund bell thair
1586 Edinb. Test. XVII. 100 b.
xiij gros and ane half of cambes of the greit key, middell key and litell key
1683 Fawside Coal Compt 109.
For ane tree & tuo daill to the litellplace 01: 11: 0

2. Said a. of young children or animals and b. of small animals.Also Litill-ane.a. a1400 Leg. S. xii. 429.
The fals feynde … in lyknes of a litil barne
?1438 Alex. i. 1253.
Quhan I was ane lytill page
1474 Treas. Acc. I. 59.
To by lynyng … to the Kingis litle lutare
1507–8 Ib. IV. 60.
To lady maistres litill madin
1513 Doug. ii. vi. 48.
Harlyng hym efter his litil nevo
Ib. xi. 5.
The top of litill Ascanyus hed
Ib. ix. ix. 87.
The litill tendir kyd or the ȝong lam
1574–5 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 9.
Johne Chrystie and … his spouse … with tua litle barnis
1604–5 Misc. Spald. C. V. 77.
To ane litill boy Fergussoun for proclamand … the fast
1612 Macritchie Gypsies 53.
Johne Faw elder, callit mekill Johne Faw, Johne Faw younger, calit litill Johne Faw
1665 Dunlop P. III. 5.
Littel Robert is a fian child
1697 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Reg. H.) 15 Oct.
Ane old meir worth 5 merks, a yong litele naig worth £16
1705 Sc. N. & Q. 3 Ser. XII. 172.
The little lass
b. a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 159.
Quhy is that a lytil fla Has sex fete & wengis twa?
c1450-2 Howlat 649.
The litill we wran That wretchit dorche was
1456 Hay I. 12/12.
The sparow is a lytill foule janglare
a1500 Henr. Fab. 934.
The dromedarie … I can him law als lytill als ane mous
1549 Compl. 39/18. 1567 Sat. P. iii. 178.
War … I ane cat and sho ane lytill mous
1585 James VI Ess. 15.
The lytle birds in flocks
1587-99 Hume 22/173.
Euerie litil creiping thing

3. Of persons or animals: Small in stature, short.Also Litil(l Johne.(1) Brus xii. 19 (E).
He raid apon a litill palfray, Laucht and joly
14.. Acts I. 672, II. 12.
[The Scottish ell was] met with the thowmys of iij men, that is to say, a mekill man, a man of mensurabill statur, and of a lytill man
?1438 Alex. i. 139.
Lytill he was of corps
Ib. ii. 3455.
I am nocht bot ane persoun heir, Lytill and euill made
1456 Hay I. 169/32.
David, the quhilk was bot of lyitill stature to grete Goulyas
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xviii. 27.
Be I bot littill of stature
? 1517 Selkirk B. Ct. fol. 57 b.
Wolȝe se this litill fals car …
1600-1610 Melvill 325.
They war bathe litle men, and thair hart was at thair mouthe
1627 Dumfries Test. I a. 132 b.
Ane lytill blak basane naig
1680 Foulis Acc. Bk. 55.
To the little scoolm[aste]r 8s.
(2) 1332 Sutherland & Caithn. Rec. I. 105.
Robertum dictum lytil
1363 Reg. Great S. 28/2.
Terram quam tenet Willelmus Litill
1482 Acta Aud. 101/1.
Gleyit Andro & litil Johne
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 54.
Litil Halyday, hensman
1590 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 18 July.
The hous … occupiit be lytill Andro Runsie
1596 Dalr. I. 46/23.
The banes of a certane persone quhome thay cal litle Johne, … quhais gretnes teiches that he was xiiii fute lang
1598 Household Bks. Jas. VI 23 Apr.
Ane woman of her chalmer callit litle Anna
1680 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 4 Feb.
Johne McKnaght, called lytle John

4. Used pregnantly to imply modest depreciation, affection, affectionate or amused disparagement, or the like.(1) a1500 Seven S. 330.
This litill prety pynula
1603 James VI in Ellis Orig. Lett. III. 80.
I ame also glaide of the discoverie of yone litle counterfitte wenche
16.. Hist. Kennedy 63.
He was … ane pretty little manne and werry kynd
1612 Brechin Test. MS. II. 213 b.
My puir wyiff hes helpit to conques this lytill tenement & ȝeard off ouris
1611-57 Mure Misc. P. xxi. 40.
Thy wit … This litle world so happilie doth guyd
(2) 1492 Myll Spect. 297/4.
This lytle buk quhilk is entetillit … the spectakle of luf
c1500-c1512 Dunb. i, heading.
Here begynnys ane littil tretie intitulit the Goldyn Targe
Ib. 271.
Thou lytill quair
1567 Sat. P. iii. 154.
All the wois that Ouid … Into his pretty lytill buik did wryte
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1.c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 6.1562-3 Winȝet II. 81/19.1567 G. Ball. 61.a1578 Pitsc. I. 6/1.1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 82/2.1598 Black Bk. Taymouth 2.

5. Of actions, emotions, qualities, conditions, circumstances, etc.: Small in degree, intensity or consequence, slight. Also transf.(1) 1375 Barb. iv. 353.
To ly heir mair war litill skill
1390 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 20.
For vs thynk it is lytill rewarde
c1420 Wynt. v. 3264.
The walle bot litill helpe thame made
1456 Hay I. 120/6.
War nocht strenth and force of curage in a man, the lave of his vertues war of litil valour
Ib. 297/4.
It is nocht lytill mischef to the land quhen the lord is nocht wis
a1500 Henr. Fab. 239.
This burges mous had lytill will to sing
Id. III. 171/30.
Thouch lare be lytil
c1475 Wall. v. 924.
[He] stud bot litill aw
1533 Bell. Livy II. 32/18.
The Romanis … war gretely inflammit be thir wourdis, havand na litill indignatioun in thare myndis
a1538 Abell 116 a.
The duke … mycht haif had the cete with litill laubour
1549 Compl. 77/31.
Gedeon … vas ane pure lauberar of lytil reputatione and discendit of smal linage
1572 Sat. P. xxxix. 48.
And ȝit, for all the graith hir grace send heir, Ingraitfull people gaue hir lytill thankis
1580 Exch. R. XXI. 61.]
[Duarum terrarum husbandiarum de Litilthank
a1578 Pitsc. I. 192/8.
He meid litill defence to his landin
1617 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 144.
Writ to me … of all procedingis in the towns bissness and parliament quhilk wilbe no litell comfort to me
(b) 1562-3 Winȝet I. 11/10.
Of the quhilk we haue lytle regarde
Ib. 24/13.
To maruell … that sa litle respect hes euir bene had to the grammar sculis
1596 Dalr. I. 98/6.
Thay haue verie lytle vse of breid, evin as thay haue of gude beir
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) 14.
Little intermetting makes good friends
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1078.
Litle luk for the hyre women to get quhair the gudewife liks the ladill
(c) a1500 Colk. Sow 20.
Cumis littill gud of gaddering
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xvii. 3.
Sum takkis our littill awtoritie And sum our mekle
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 1457.
When tailyeors ar trew ther is littil good to shew
(2) 1456 Hay I. 8/6.
The scisme was nocht lytill that was maid in the tyme of Machamet
(3) ?1438 Alex. ii. 6263.
Thay ar michty … And countis bot small ane lytle dangere
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 50.
Apon the talȝeour quhen he did luke His hart a litill dwalmyng tuke
c1540 Lynd. Kitteis Conf. 132.
[A priest] sall … The sacramentis schaw thé at lenth, Thy lytle faith to stark and strenth
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 135.
And efter this he schew me of sa mony lytil flattereis … that ȝe will abasche thairat
a1578 Pitsc. I. 408/1.
[The king] gaif ane lyttill smyle and lauchter, syne [etc.]
16.. Paterson Ayr & Wigt. II. 43.
[The district remained in quietness with the exception of] sum littill small jarris [between the tutor and the Master of Cassilis]
1616 Haddington Corr. 133.
Howpeing his Maiestie will considder I am nather the slawest in doeing the littill service [etc.]
1619 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 83.
Scho gaiue fiue or six lytlegroanes
1674 Cunningham Diary 43.
To John Speir, notar, for some litle businesse he did me, 13.4
compar. 1586 Cal. Sc. P. IX. 107.
Not to leive … to hir alledging that the litler effect that folloue the vordis can not serve his tourne
transf. c1420 Wynt. vi. 2461.
Edgar Ethlyng Wes lytill for yowthhad off walu
1456 Hay I. 232/10.
All men of were ar free to do thair spede apon the kingis inymyes but excepcioun of lytill or mekle inymy
1533 Gau 41/3.
O thow Bethleem Effrata thow art litil amangis ane thowsand of Joure

6. a. In naming the smaller or less important of two places or countries of the same name: cf. Les a. A 1 c.(1) 1359 Exch. R. I. 590.
Per releuium de Lytilcarcary
1368 Reg. Great S. (1814) 56/1. 1375 Barb. viii. 202.
To litill Lowdoun
1394 Reg. Great S. (1814) 213/1.
De terris … de Dowaldlitil et de Dowaldmekill
1404 Coll. Aberd. & B. 524.1408 Ib. 448; etc. 1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 250. 1466 Acta Aud. 5/1. 1472 Reg. Cupar A. I. 164.
Ane quarter of our toun of Lytilperth
1481 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 234.1501 Ib. 220. 1545 Blackfriars Perth 166.
Lye Litill Haucht
1584 Fam. Innes 142. 1589 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 26 May. 1632 Reg. Great S. 558/1.
Pro Halwitstoun … , pro Littill Witstoun
(2) c1420 Wynt. i. 1046.
Syn Lytyll Asy lyis … Nere beltyde wytht the se abowt
Ib. v. 3190.
Armaryk … That Lytill Brettayne now cal we
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 162/14.
The west cleif of Litill Brettane … is callit the litill navill of the see
1513 Doug. iii. v. 129.
We passit on, and litil Troy I knaw, Lyke the gret cite contyrfait on raw
1540–1 Macritchie Gypsies 37.
Johnne Faw, lord and erle of Litill Egipt

b. The litill (= smaller, petty) custom. 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 151 b.
Cvstumers of the litill custum (that is, of gudes cumand to the market)

7. Of a period of time, also of a distance: Short.Common in adv. phrases as a litill quhile, we, etc.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 171.
He was king bot a litill quhile
Ib. vii. 34.
Eftir a litill thraw
a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 27.
In lytil space here I wryt the lyf of sanctis sere
a1570-86 Kennedy Maitl. F. cxxxi. 22.
Befoir hir deid a litill space
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3837.
We twa alone mon talk ane lytill space
Ib. 4779.
Scho was wyteles a lytill we
1567 G. Ball. 37.
Thay within a lytill stound Began to myrrie be
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 33.
The lytill space of rest that crueltie gevis thame
a1578 Pitsc. I. 153/19. 1606 Rollock 1 Thess. iii. 34.
Byde a little while, it is not long to
(2) 1375 Barb. xvii. 677.
Behynd hir a litill we It fell
1513 Doug. vii. viii. 70.
With a burdon … The poynt scharpit and brynt a litill we
a1578 Pitsc. I. 56/7.
Ane companie of airmeit men … slew him cruellie ane lyttill peace fre Kirk Patrick

b. Of immaterial things: Of short duration. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 20/19.
Oure blist lord Jhesus has gevin ws a schort and litile orisoune jn wourdis
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 68.
Efter ane litell speitche maid thair, the quenis grace come to the croce
1595 St. A. Kirk S. 809.
Sic as … can ansour to the questionis of the Litill Catichisme

8. Little in amount, quantity, or number; not much of.Qualifying nouns in abstract or generalized senses.(1) 1375 Barb. ix. 2.
Douglas, that sall haf litil rest
c1420 Wynt. v. 1246.
That the oyst suld be Rownd [and] off lytill qwantyte
Ib. viii. 2040.
Tharefor thi dame made lytill cost
?1438 Alex. ii. 9922.
He said he had … Our lytill land to his leding
1457 Acts II. 47/1.
Gudis of litill quantite quhilk thaj bring on thair hedis
1490 Irland Mir. I. 28/7.
Thai that are full of … prid … has litile ore na part in this haly orisoune
a1500 Seven S. 2427.
He ete litill meit or nane
1508 Reg. Privy S. I. 246/1.
Licence … to … sett in few … the saidis landis … or ony parte of thaim, or annuel, mekle or litill, out of thaim
1596 Dalr. I. 10/18.
Thir haue bot few wodis and verie litle elding to thair fyre
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 1311.
Ther is littl sop in dry peas hools
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1407.
Oft the hand in the almerie maks litle breid
c 1640 Fam. Innes 232.
I confesse it [sc. money] waisse to layttill but I must have patyence
(2) c1420 Bute MS. fol. 173.
A schyp or twa ar in a narow havyn and thai hafe lytil watir and a schip lyis oure nere anothyr
1559 Peebles B. Rec. I. 254.
The tre briggis and legis of Peblis brig to be mendit … now quhill the watter is litill

b. Small in amount etc.; not large.Of particular things. ?1438 Alex. ii. 6962.
Thay ar ane lytill dynare To our great hoste that we haue here
a1500 Henr. Fab. 376.
Quha hes aneuch, of na mair hes he neid, Thocht it be lytill into quantitie
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 41.
O Lord Jesu Crist, quhilk tholit fra ane of thi discipillis tobe sauld for a littill price
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1277.
With him his litill companie
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxiv. 66.
Becaus the lordis hes our lytill feyis Bot off vncertane casualiteyis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 116/4.
Thinkand his armye was ovir litill at that tyme
1596 Highland P. I. 172.
He plenȝiet and saide it [the bribe] wes owre littel for sic turns

c. With definite article or possessive, with privative meaning: Practical want of (what the noun denotes), small. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxvi. 15.
The leill labour lost, … And the lytill rewarde agane For to considder is ane pane
1545 Douglas Corr. 156.
It is to small affecke, and his hienes ville nocht regarde the laytille profit off it
1568 Lyndesay Pref. 402.
Gif he had leiffit in thir lait dayis, quhat had he said of … the lytill regard of all persones to the commoun weilth
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxii. 86.
Baith hir and him thow tratourouslie abusit And gave gud tryell of thy lytill treuth
1656 Laing MSS. I. 307.
Bot, alas! the littill fruits of it is [seen] by the differanc and might hav been doing good both to Kirk and land, which both suffers hardly, if ye had been all one

d. Of persons: Litill of langage, spech(e, not talkative, restrained in speech. c1460 Thewis Gud Women 14.
A woman suld … Ful of piete and humylitee And lytill of langage … bee
c1475 Wall. i. 202.
Sad of contenance he was … Litill of spech, wys, curtas and benyng

e. With plural noun: Few. 1593 Acts IV. 52/1.
Nane or verie litle avowit papistis remaning in … the realme

9. (A) litill thing, a small matter, a trifle, little. = Litil(l n. (senses 10–12 below). 1375 Barb. viii. 247.
Thouch that thai be ma than we, That suld abais ws litill thing
1390 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 20.
Sa lytill a thynge
a1500 Rauf C. 80.
I haue seruit thé ȝit of lytill thing to ruse
1513 Doug. xiii. i. 82.
Lavynya has thé cost na litill thyng
1570 Sempill Sat. P. xii. 124.
Quhy ly ȝe heir with lytill thing ado?
1570 Cal. Sc. P. III. 118.
[I understand that the] litill thyng [I had in Scotland that remains of my living there … is gone]
1585 Gray Lett. & P. 62.
He is very young and litle thing in him
1598 Warrender P. A. fol. 359.
Gif we mycht advaill our self ony litill thing in doing thairof
1605-6 Welsh Serm. 459.
The Lord will be content with a little wee thing
1600-1610 Melvill 769.
Thrie or four little thingis to the grateing of Bisschopis and decrease and interest of Presbyteries
1684 Kingarth Par. Rec. 141.
[He] excusd himself that a litle thing maks him drunk

B. absol. as n. 10. Not much, only a small amount or quantity. Passing into sense 13.Absol. use of senses 5, 7 and 8 of the adj.Also qualified by such adverbs as bot, to (= too), over. 1375 Barb. xix. 182.
Othir in thar sted sall ris, That sall cwn litill of sic mastris
c1420 Wynt. iii. Prol. 22.
Off thame, that lyvyd wytyously, Carpe we bot lytyll
Ib. v. 5056.
That thare suld lytill leve behynd Off warpe [etc.]
Ib. vii. 2690. ?1438 Alex. ii. 7248.
Pour men ar the folk of Inde … Lytill ar thay worth
c1420 Ratis R. 1731, 2.
[A child is] For lytil blytht, for lytil wraithe, For lytil leif, for lytil laithe
1456 Hay I. 30/11.
[They] redily wil mak graunt and hecht, and lytill fulfill in dede
Ib. II. 134/27.
Lytill ete, oft drynk
c1475 Wall. i. 204. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xvi. 21.
Sum gevis to littill full wretchitly
Id. lxvi. 87.
I of lytill wald be fane
1533 Boece vi. xiv. 213 b.
Thare ene suld be sa obfuscate … that thai suld se litill or nocht
Ib. xiii. xi. 521 b.
Cardinal Egidius … resauit nocht litill fra the clergy and lawit pepill
1568 Buch. Indict. 35.
He being enterit revisit hir aganis hir will, bot litill apperit of hir miscontentement
1596 St. A. Baxter Bks. 61.
Considering the great hurt the craft hes sustenit throw taking in of prenteis … for ovir letill
a1598 Ferg. Prov. (S.T.S.) No. 161.
Better lang little nor soon right nought
Ib. No. 787. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1116.
Men may be kynd and tyne litle of their geir
1663 Old Ross-shire I. 79.
It was littel shee could doe against thrie
1673 Berw. Nat. Cl. XXXI. 124.
That non lay forth to sell littell or mickell untill the searchers goe through the markit

b. (By) little and little, gradually, little by little.(1) 1456 Hay I. 57/12, 13.
The Romaynis tynt thair … men of armes lytill and litill with lang sare fechting
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 45.
That he allone wes hard in all secreit materis, casting of lytill and lytill the Erle of Murray
a 1699 Sel. Biog. II. 273.
Little and little makes good speed at last
(2) 1632 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 351.
That the samyn sould be done be litill and litill to the end the loss … may be … insensibill
a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) 60.
The monasteries … came by little and little in the hands of secular men
a1634 Read Buch. 5.
Ther is no cause that moves me to mak so light account of the decay of the ancient Scots tongue as that to my contentment I perceaue those barbar sounds by litle and litle to parish

11. A small amount, quantity or portion (of something).Const. chiefly without of.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 167.
A lytil vngument he hym tacht & bad hyme [etc.]
a1500 Henr. Fab. 719.
Gif me leif To eit puddingis or laip ane lytill blude
?a1500 Remembr. Passion 699.
O my saule, for ane littill solace of this warld tyne nocht all this ioy
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 844.
In a litle falset is schame, in treuth much meid
1653 Lamont Diary 70.
If he wold have a litell patience till they called the rolle
1653 Hossack Kirkwall 254.
I haue giffen your sister Babra sum leitell mony
(2) 1594 Charteris Pref. Wall. in Misc. Bann. C. III. 171.
Ȝit … will I speik sum thing of the former twa Inglis wryteris, to note out ane lytill of their schameles impudencie

b. Used adv.: In a small degree, to a slight extent, somewhat. Not a little, greatly, very much.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 28.
The telȝouris hairt a littill schrenkit
a1570-86 Shaw Maitl. F. cxlvi. 10.
Giff ȝe be wys avyse heiron And set ȝour sale a litle lawar
a1578 Pitsc. I. 92/4.
Ȝe are come a litill to leit
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 26.
The Kingis grace … smylit and leuch a lytill
1635 Glasgow Trades House 176.
To by ane new ane [sc. a bell] of ane lytle mair quantatie
1677 Cunningham Diary 99.
For my shoos mending a little o. 8
(2) a1578 Pitsc. I. 366/14.
Thay wer all not a littill reioysed sieing that the king … was so hichlie praysed
1595 Conv. Burghs I. 469.
[The Convention] is nocht a litill offendit

c. For a short distance; (for) a short time.(1) 1375 Barb. ix. 256.
A litill on bridill thai thaim vith-drew
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2039 (C).
Ȝe sall follow ane lytill efterwart
a1500 Rauf C. 800.
He lukit ane lytill him fra
c1475 Wall. x. 386.
A litill be neth the eyn
1670 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Proc. No. 82 (14 July).
A greatt kearne a litell below the head of Kirkbeane bourne
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 250.
Abyde a lytil & spek with me
?1438 Alex. ii. 2828.
Ane lytle forrow the sone rysing
c1420 Wynt. iv. 482.
As I yhowe tauld a lytill ere
1513 Doug. iv. vi. 112.
As the mater requiris, a litil heris
1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 277.
Ane litle befor the last feist of Lammes
1531 Vaus (1566).
Now, Robert, I wald a lytill with ȝow
1596 Dalr. I. 61/25.
Nocht lang, bot a litle eftir
Ib. II. 186/14.
The Gouernour stedfastlie aduyses with him selfe alytle

12. With demonstr. or in plur.: This small or trifling matter, a small amount or portion. 1581 Cal. Sc. P. VI. 120.
[And so out of] this litill [there may some great matter work]
a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 1071.
Many litles makis a meikle
1674 Cunningham Diary 48.
Sum: when the little of the year 1673 is joined with it, 1239. 18. 2

C. adv. 13. To only a small extent, only slightly, not much.Adv. use of sense 10. 1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 58.
Bot sic complaynt … availȝeit litil or nocht
c1420 Wynt. v. 4331.
Lytill or nowcht nevyrtheles Waverand fra the suthfastnes
Ib. viii. 3435.
Twa bowdrawcht, or lytill mare
?1438 Alex. ii. 3870.
We think our lyttill on our play
Ib. 4970.
Marcus He is tane, bot we haue ane Of lytill les price
1513–14 Selkirk B. Ct. fol. 30 b.
That tua thraiff or litel mor wald geiff the boll
1531 Bell. Boece I. li.
Thair hors ar litill mair than asinis
1583 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 346.
The ȝeirlie rentale will litill acceid ane hundreth threttie thre pundis
1596 Dalr. I. 5/16.
[Strong winds] quhairthrouch the cuntrey is nocht lytle bot mekle hailsumer
16.. Hist. Kennedy 52.
[She] maid hir complent to the King … bot wes littill the better, or at lest bot hard
1654 Rep. Maxwell-Stuart Mun. 29.
The said Earl … hath medled verie litle with publick affaires

b. Freq. ironically, as an emphatic negative: Not in the least, not at all.(1) 1390 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 20.
Gyf yhe do in the contrarie … we are litill haldyn to be tendir
1405 Ib. No. 59.
Learys sulde be lytille alowit wyth ony sic worschipfull kyng as ȝhe ar
?1438 Alex. ii. 1422.
It semis … quhair hartis failȝeis, The laif of lymmes lytle vailȝeis
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 238 (Ch.).
Ane libberly ful lytil to lak
1533 Boece vii. viii. 237 b.
How beit this viage was litill plesing to Britons
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 325.
The gret Byble … Quhat wes tharein lytill I knew, God wat
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots 571.
Albeit my Lord of Murray … be lyttil les scrupulous for ane Protestant
1577 Fam. Innes 132.
Gif my brudir levis … I think us litill behynd the hand with the mischeant fule
1596 Dalr. I. 6/29.
The north parte of the ile … hes … mony garssie hillis … bot litle fertile and verie bare garse
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1066.
Litle wat the fow sw that lyis in the sty quhat the hungrie misters that gais her by
Ib. No. 1487.
They are litle worth credence that gives nane
(2) a1500 Seven S. 1632.
I rak bot litill To strik this ymage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 373.
Thoght I likit him bot litill
1533 Gau 17/8.
The rich men of this vardel curis this litel
1568 Waus Corr. 58.
Sik as regardis lytill the eftircum of it
a1578 Pitsc. I. 192/8.
He fearit him litill
c1590 Fowler II. 116/14.
A prence … suld panse litill to be noted with the infame of crueltie
1607 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxxxvi.
We profeit littil be our travellis as yit at his handis

c. Nocht, na (no) little, not a little, greatly, very much. Cf. 11 b. 1416 Red Bk. Menteith I. 284.
Tharof vs ferlyis nouch lytyle
1531 Bell. Boece I. 56.
Durstus, na litil affrayit of thair assemblance … maid him to flee
1600-1610 Melvill 459.
That gossope at the baptisme … was na litle vokie for getting of the berns name

14. A short time (before). a1400 Leg. S. i. 549.
He … mad gret playnt of the schame Of the vilne and of the blame That lytil befor tholit he

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"Litil adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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