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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Michty, a. Also: micht(t)y, -i(e, mitht-, mycht(t)y, , -i(e, mychety, mighty, -i(e, myghty, -i, mythé, methy. [ME. mihti, miȝty, myghty, OE. mihtiᵹ.] Mighty, potent.

1. Wielding great power or dominion as a prince or great lord or chief.a. Of rulers or their attributes. Common in complimentary formulae. Also absol.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 474.
With few folk thai had wictory Off mychty kingis
a1400 Leg. S. xix. 35.
?1438 Alex. ii. 8974.
c1420 Wynt. vii. 2577.
A mychty erle off Frawns
Ib. viii. 18. 1424 Cambuskenneth Let. to Jas. I.
Betwene ȝou and the michti Kyng of Ingland
a1500 Henr. Orph. 74 (Asl.). a1570-86 Maitl. F. lv. 62.
Ane michtie bischop in ane cuntre of [nocht]
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 75/4
God hes endeuit his g[race] aboue sindrie vther michtie princis
(2) 1456 Hay I. 126/27.
[The king] is autoriȝit with grete and hye and rycht mychti jurisdiccioun
a1578 Pitsc. I. 25/8.
He maintenit a gret companye of thewis … to lat him vnderstand his michtie power
Ib. /25.
To adwance his michtie power he creatit senatouris of the parliament … as he haid beine ane king
(3) 1379 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 2. 1391 Lennox Mun. 43.
At the instance of a noble & mychty lord
1394 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 29.
Til a nobil man and mychty Colin Cambell lord of Lochaw
1405 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 172.
Betuix noble men and michti
1409 Red. Bk. Menteith II. 277. 1424 State P. MS. (Reg. H.) No. 15.
Rycht hey mychti maist excellent prince
1420 Reg. Great S. 29/2. 1444 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 10. 1447 (1450) Reg. Great S. 69/1.
The sele of the said he and mychti lady
1456 Hay I. 2/22, 14/24, etc. 1482 Edinb. Chart. 146. a1500 Prestis of Peblis 261. 1494 Loutfut MS. 9 a. 1516 Sutherland Chart. 63.
It is … accordit betuix noble and mythe lordis
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 543. 1544 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 208.
Be ane nobill and methy lord
1566 Rec. Earld. Orkney 375.
The maist mychtty potent lordis
1622 Red Bk. Menteith II. 322.
Oure richt heiche, michtie, and illustre prince
c1650 Spalding I. 25.
(4) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 300.
absol. Quhan thai saw that mighty [the king] sa mouit in his mude

b. Said of cities and states. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 465.
[Rome is] worthy to be Mychtyare throw religione Than wardly dominacione
Ib. xxxiii. 850.
He of mychtty Perce was kinge
c1420 Wynt. v. 3642. 1460 Hay I. 37/6. Alex. (Taym.) 2574. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 308/6.
Mony utheris michtiest cites and townis
1513 Doug. v. x. 98.

2. Potent in standing, importance or wealth; powerful, important, rich.Also said of the qualities or attributes of such a person, and absol.(1) 1375 Barb. ix. 443 (E).
Thai that er war pour and bar Off that gud rych and mychty war
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 163.
I was borne … In lauchful bed of folk mychtty
Ib. xli. 105.
My spouse is mychtyere Thane thi son & fere richere
Ib. xxvi. 76, xxxviii. 558, xliv. 337. c1420 Wynt. viii. 6397.
Than quhat throw mycht off the burges [of Edinburgh] And the custwme … In his hand he worthyd mychty And gat hym a gret cumpany
Ib. ix. 1637.
Robert the Ketht, a mychty man Be lynage
1456 Hay I. 223/33.
Twa or threi of mychti burgeis sonis
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 390. a1500 Colk. Sow iii. 141.
This Cokelb grew eftir to so grit riches … he grew the michtiest man In ony realme
c1475 Wall. i. 300. a1500 Prestis of Peblis 201.
Than come he hame ane mychti riche man And spousit syne ane michti wyf richt than
a1500 Seven S. 293.
A burges … Riche and mychti
1533 Gau 17/11. c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 45.
It nowthair sparis mychtie men nor pure
1570 Sat. P. xxii. 12. c1575 Balfour Pract. 280.
Quhen the judge daris not richtlie judge for fear of ane michtie and potent persoun
(2) a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxxii. 83.
Thoght I be laich, I beir a michtie mynd
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xv. 2.
Of small degrie and michtie name
(3) 1456 Hay I. 298/9.
absol. Of the riche to the pure, of the mychety to wayke [etc.]
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1154.
Of that mighty na ma War set at the des

b. Rich in (of) (property, possessions, friends). c. Rich enough (to pay etc.).b. 1375 Barb. v. 274 (E).
A man … That was off freyndis weill mychty
a1400 Leg. S. xxv. 397.
He & scho that mychtty ware Of gold & siluir
?1438 Alex. ii. 4816. a1500 Seven S. 1328.
This lord … mychti was of heretage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 296.
Syne maryit I a marchand myghti of gudis
1513 Doug. i. i. 23, ii. i. 17.c. 1456 Hay I. 231/3.
Sik a notable burges, the quhilk is mychti to pay x or xii thousand frankis

3. Of God, Christ or a pagan deity: Having divine power.Also transf. to the deity's qualities or attributes.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 123.
To that ilke mychty Kinge We sall serwe
Ib. xlii. 32.
Mychtyaste of al is He
1456 Hay I. 52/13.
Haa, michty God of hevin!
1490 Irland Mir. I. 14/29.
The hie and mychtty lord Jhesus
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 102.
Dame Wenus, lufis mychti quene
Id. lxxii. 4.
Befoir the michti King of glorye
1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 14.
Aurora to myghty Tytan spows
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1089. 1556 Lauder Off. Kings 198. 1567 G. Ball. 106. 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 73/14.(2) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 326/21.
Marcus … tretis of Goddis michtiest powere
1561 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. xlv.
[The] mychty protectioun [of our lord Jesus]
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxix. 20.
His mychttie ire
Ib. 73.
Wnder His michtie hand

4. a. Possessing great influence (with God). a1400 Leg. S. V. 655.
Sancte Johne that mychtty is Vith God

b. ? Strongly or greatly addicted to (in, for) a vice or the like. c1420 Ratis R. 1503.
Man mychty in iniquite
a1500 Henr. Orph. 212.
Cresus the king, non mithtiar on moid For covatise

c. Qualifying an agent noun: Greatly given to the practice denoted. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxi. 87.
Schir Johne Kirkepakar, Off many cures ane michtie vndertaker

5. Physically powerful, stalwart, strong.Of persons and animals, their attributes or actions, etc. Also absol., and cf. Michty n.(1) ?1438 Alex. ii. 2687.
He was michty and staluart to stand
c1420 Ratis R. 1573.
The sext eild … to four scor of ȝeris … Lestis in men of kind mychty
c 1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 249.
Jone of Forbes … was a gude man wise mychty and manly in his tyme
1456 Hay I. 169/27.
[He] was stout … and mychti of were in armes
Ib. 196/2.
Women … suld nocht be compellit to the weris, all war thai never sa michty
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxvii. 36.
And syne the Bruce … cum rydand … As nobill, dreidfull, michtie campioun
1513 Doug. viii. v. 22.
The lovabill gestis of mychty Hercules
1549 Compl. 25/9.
The mychty ande the sterk man
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xvii. 29. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 2190.
This michtie bair
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 1418.
The lyone … With his clukis that ware mychty
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxiv. 32.
Hectouris manheid and michtie excellence
1513 Doug. viii. iv. 119.
Hercules it [the rock] smytis with a mychty towk
1533 Bell. Livy I. 51/5.
His flurissant ȝouth, his mychty strenth of body
15.. Lichtoun Dreme 17.
With ane michtie bend
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3086.
Michtie straikis
15.. Clar. iii. 1120.
His michtie corpis
(3) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 753.
absol. Quhen thai myghty can mach

6. a. Of things: Of great size or strength; strongly built. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3052.
Ane mychtie castell bigit hee
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 187/4.
With … mony michti schippis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxvii. 37.
He wes our mychte pavis
1513 Doug. v. iv. 77. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 5248.
The michtie towre

b. Of huge amount, huge. c1475 Wall. viii. 1725.
The rych reward was mychty for to se
Ib. x. 943.
I thank yow, schyr, off this mychty reward
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3330.
Off fat cattall thai sesit ane michty pray
1531 Bell. Boece I. vii.
Thair costlie clethin schew thair michty rentis

c. Sumptuous, splendid. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1819.
He … Come … with richt mychti apparele
a1500 Seven S. 1885.
A burges … held a michti hous at hame
15.. Clar. i. 31.
The michtie bardis of his nobill steid Of bricht gold gleimit
Ib. ii. 124.
Ane chalmer … arayit … With gold and silk and arais full michtie
Ib. iv. 1364.

7. Powerful of its kind. a. Of sounds: Loud. b. Of the wind: Strong. c. Of liquor: Strong, potent. d. Of a quality or attribute: Present in a high degree.a. c1475 Wall. vi. 346.
Quhar claryowns blew full mony mychty sonis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 129.
Thai … sang ballettis with michty notis clere
15.. Dunb. App. vi. 28. 1609 Acts IV. 424/1.
The same wes … song … with a verray loude and michtie voice
b. 1587-99 Hume 50/86.
The mightie winds blaws to and fra
1644 Petrie Chiliasto-mastix 19.
By a michtie wind of preaching
c. c1475 Wall. vii. 342.
With Irland ayle the mychteast couth be wrocht
c1500 Fyve Bestes 213. 1531 Bell. Boece II. 38.
Roxena … went to the king with ane coupeful of michty wine
1535 Stewart 37628.
With coistlie spycis and mony mychtie wyne
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1917.
Michtie drink comforts the dull ingine
c1550 Id. Meldrum 836. 15.. Aberd. B. Rec. MS. (Jam.).
Stark mychty wynes & small wynes
15.. Clar. iii. 1023.d. c1475 Wall. i. 12.
Thai haff wrocht in to thair mychty pryde To hald Scotlande at wndyr euirmar
a1578 Pitsc. I. 103/17.
His mightie curage in sic adwerssatie
1596 Dalr. I. 163/8.
The Scottis couragious, of a blyth hope and a mychtie spirit, leipis to straikis
1600-1610 Melvill 142.
Mr Andro … with … mightie force of sprit … planlie tauld the King and counsall that [etc.]

e. Of speech: Emphatic, signifying much. f. Of an oath: Strongly binding. c1460 Thewis Wysmen 86.
His lyppis honorys sciens ay With mychtty spech full of gud fay
1533 Bell. Livy I. 2/16.
Brutus … gart the pepill with mychty aithis swere

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"Michty adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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