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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Moral(l, Morale, a. Also: morell. [ME. moral(e (Rolle), -all(e, L. mōrāl-is, F. moral.]

1. That pertains to morals or ethics or practical matters of right and wrong behaviour in human conduct; ethical.a. Of qualities of character. Vertew moral, moral vertu, after L. virtus moralis, F. vertu morale, as distinguished by Aristotle from ‘intellectual virtue’.(1) 1456 Hay I. 63/1.
Bot he was rycht mekle enclynit to vertue moral and all nobles for [etc.]
Ib. 117/27.
Gif strenth be a vertu morale
Ib. 118/35.
That war fule hardynes and na vertu morale
Ib. 81/34, 117/30. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxv. 2.
To speik … Off vertew morall, cwnnyng or doctrine
(2) 1456 Hay I. 160/30.
Be all law, resoun naturale and morale vertu ilke man suld be jugit and demaynit efter his estate and qualitee
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 31/12, 13.
Quhether a ded done out of cherite in morall werteu efter as Arestotill spekis of morall verteu be worthy of ony reward
Ib. /25.
Geve the persone ony way disponis him be morall werteu to leve the syn
Id. Mir. I. 163/11.(3) 1513 Doug. xi. Prol. 25.
To speke of moral vertuus hardyment, Or rathar of dyvyne, is myne entent
a1658 Durham Subtile Self 23.
Nor yet a mans parts and moral enduements

b. Of conduct. c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 53/7.
Cherite garris all morall werk done be it deserue and wyn eternale lyfe
1645 Rutherford Tryal Faith 285.
That all his actions moral be watered and lustered with faith

c. Moral law, that founded on universal and self-evident principles of right and wrong behaviour. — 1681 Stair Inst. i. i. § 7 (1681) 4.
The law of nature is also termed the moral law, being the absolute and adequate rule of the manners of men for all times, places and persons

2. That treats of or is concerned with morals or good and bad conduct.a. As a subject of study. b. As a literary topic.a. (1) a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 73.
That morale man and famos philosophoure Four thingis commendit accordand for a king
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 32/6.
Of sic werkis ail morall vertu is generit that … morall philoso[pho]uris spekis of
a 1499 Devot. Pieces xxvii.
That which is prouable by holy scrypture & doctours sayenge with some mixtyon of morall phylosophres
(2) c1420 Wynt. viii. 409.
Mayster off art and in morale Phylosophi and naturale He wes grwndyt perfytly
1456 Hay I. 119/26.
For sa is it haldin in science naturale of philosophy morall be all oure maisteris and doctouris
1490 Irland Mir. in Innes Rev. VI. 92.
Thire are pepil of euill mynd and spekis … aganis moral philosophy
1531 Bell. Boece II. 406/21.b. (1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 262.
O morall [M. morell] Gower and Ludgate laureate
(2) a1538 Abell 120 b.
And all the morall preceppis in the law of Moeses & the ewangell
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xxxi. 8.
Ageit men sould jois in morall telis

c. Morale edificatioun. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1893 (Bann.).
This foirsaid faibill … Quhilk at this tyme may weilbe applicate To guid morale edificatioun

3. Of a fable: That possesses a moral, that has an allegoric application to human conduct. Also of the fabulist. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1401 (Bann.).
I pray Vndir the figure of sum brutall beist, A morall fable ȝe wald dedene to say
a1538 Abell 12 b.
Esop the morall fabular heir florist in Greek

b. Moral sentence, sence, allegoric application to questions of conduct or morals. a1500 Henr. Fab. 12 (Makc.).
So spryngis thar a moral sweit sentens Out of the sutell dyt of poetry
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5333.
Off this signis, or we forther gone, Sum morall sence we wyll expone
Ib. 5446. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 4717.
The morall sence
Ib. 7524.
Into this taill richt small I can persaue To be extract of morall gude sentence
Ib. 6302.

4. Morally good, virtuous. 1695 Douglas Corr. 286.
Of the inteyr trust you heue both as a good morrall and relligius man

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"Moral adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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