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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Overlay, v. Also: ovir-, ower- and -ley. [e.m.E. and ME. ouerlay (Cursor M.), -ley, ovyrlay; f. Lay v.1 and Lay var. of Ly v.]

1. To lay over.a. To cover, to spread (with). b. To place a charge upon, to burden.Cf. Lay v.1 16 and 43.a. 1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix. 203.
The suddartis luiffis wes sa ouirlaid with lyme
b. 1567 G. Ball. 177.
Quhair we war wount to go rycht glaid Now haif thay vs with chargis ouer laid
1600-1610 Melvill 41.
They haid na will of pure folks, being alreadie owerlaid thairwith
Ib. 493.
I ley down at your feit my commissioun, as the pynnour does his burding when he is owerleyed

2. To lie over.a. lit. To lie upon and suffocate (a child). b. To oppress, esp. by extorting accommodation or maintenance; cf. Ourlyar n. a and Overlyar n.a. 1650 Brechin Presb. 51.
[She] confessed … that she was the death of two of her own bairnes, the one being overlayed be her
1704 Coll. Witchcraft 143.
Helen Johnston having overlaid her child the night after it was baptized
b. 1570 Sempill Sat. P. xii. 139.
Ȝe feir the Frenchemen suld ouerlay thir landis
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 19.
Beggeris … that repairis … thruch the cuntrey and overlayis the same, begging woll, fisch and cornis
1615 Orkney Bp. Ct. (ed.) 31.

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



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