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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Suffer, v. Also: suffere, -ir(e, -yr(e, suffre, sufer, -ar, suwer, soffyr. P.t. also sufferred, suffiret, suf(f)ert. P.p. also sufferrit, sufferid, suffert, -irt, suferd, suffrid. [ME and e.m.E. suffri (c1290), sofry (1297), suffer, suffre (both Cursor M.), soffre (c1315), suffur (Wyclif), p.t. suffrede (Ancr. R.), sufferd (Cursor M.), sofrede (1297), suffered (Tyndale), p.p. suffryd (Lydgate), suffred (c1450), suffered (1584), OF sofrir, suffrir, souffrir (c1050, 1080 and c1112 in Larousse), pop. L. *sufferīre, altered from L. sufferre.]

I. To undergo, endure.

1. intr. To undergo or submit to pain, suffering or death. a1400 Leg. S. xvi 19.
Thocht thu may … For syne ws sla ȝet nocht-the-les Thou bidis & sufferis
c1475 Wall. x 1057.
Ȝeit suffer he wald For gret falsheid that part him did off ald
a1500 Bk. Chess 1027.
Richt wicht in hert he is for to defend That sufferis gret and haldis to the end
c1520-c1535 Nisbet I 14.
He exhortis menn … to be war at na mann suffir as anne ewill doer bot as anne Christinmann
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 157/32, 33.
Sanct Paull … testifies that Jesus Christ … sufferit anis for vs and is nevir to suffir agane
a1568 Bann. MS 81b/22.
He that can suffir in hairt & hyd Sall haif his asking but moir uo
1662 Crim. Trials III 605.
The Laird of Parkis heall maill children by it ar to suffer
(b) 1545 St. P. Henry VIII V 428.
The wheche was noghtely seyd, and by thos wordes wothy to soffyr, exseptis the kyngis mersy

b. specif. To undergo execution, be put to death. 1570 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 654/1.
Maister Mowne the Erle off Levenox seruand sufferis at Streveling vpoun Monunday
a1578 Pitsc. II 82/6.
This marter of God sufferit on this wyse
1596 Dalr. I 157/7.
Christe, cheife and gret Bishope, suffiret in Hierusalem

c. To endure, be patient. 1456 Hay II 103/13.
And than ansueris the hevynis on Goddis behalf, Suffer ȝou till the tyme, for traistis wele, he that slais salbe slayn
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4535.
The knicht … sufferit ouir with blyith dissimulance To treit his gaistis with ane gude countenance

2. tr. To endure, be afflicted with (pain, adversity, negative emotions, etc.).pres. ?1438 Alex. i 1690.
Thair war thay set in sic ane thrang That thay micht nocht it suffer lang
?1438 Alex. ii 2307.
Quhen hart in lufe enamurit is, … it wourthis suffer mony-fald Baith ioy and sorow
c1420 Wynt. iii 18.
c1420 Wynt. v 3256.
1456 Hay I 197/17.
It is better all the evill of the warld to suffer na to consent to do dedely syn
a1500 Henr. Orph. 529.
Tantalus … Was dampnyt in the flude of Acheron To suffer hunger, thrist, nakit and cald
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xliv 16.
Grit pane and wo, … Into thair birth thay suffir sair for ws
1513 Doug. xi xvi 31.
Ne salt thou not that schame suffir
1531 Bell. Boece I 110.
I mon … suffer this adversite
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4447.
Knew ȝe the thocht and nichtlie burning pane, That I suffer continuallie in hart
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 129/3.
Albeit it [sc. the body of Christ] be dalye vsit and communicat it sufferis na iniures
1565 Cal. Sc. P. II 183.
Conseder … for Gods cawse what I suffer … Lakyng wharwith to by my neseserys
1588 Misc. Spald. C. II 61.
Althoicht my serwandis suwer ill, To myne ane buklar will I be
1590 Warrender P. (SHS) II 146.
I … sall be leyth to suffer dishonour at thair handis
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 76.
Besyde the disgrace that our nation sufferis throw thair goeing naked in a strange countrie
p.t. a1400 Leg. S. xliv 40.
Agas has hyme ay present, For quham scho sufferit herd torment
a1450 Fifteen Ois 69.
Throu vertu of this memour That Thou sufferit on the croce hingand
c1475 Wall. i 374.
It dide him gud, suppos he sufferyt payne
1490 Irland Mir. III 25/21.
All the meritis and tormentis that thai sufferit in the glorius passioun
c1500 Makc. MS xii 36.
1513 Doug. iii v 82.
Thou suffert no kut nor kavillys cast for thé
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 815.
Thay sufferit nother heit nor cald
1560 Rolland Seven S. 564.
Vpon the sey thay sufferit greit perrell
a1568 Bann. MS 223b/40.
Wes nevir ane vndir the sonis lycht Mair patient sufferrit proctory
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i 115.
Quhairfor ar tha meit … Bot to sustene of Hellis fyre the pane As Nero sufferit for his tirrannye
1622-6 Bisset II 279/35.
1676 Welsh Gospel Summonds 13.
p.p. ?1438 Alex. ii 2196.
Bot great thochtis haue I suffred seir
1490 Irland Mir. I 49/24.
The eternall pane of hell, that we suld haue sufferit for oure syn
1513 Doug. v xi 57.
Sen that samony seys and alkyn landis … And stormys … sufferyt haue we
1533 Bell. Livy II 41/5.
All thir importabill exactiouns ar sufferit be ws
1560 Rolland Seven S. 5725.
At that time he suld not sufferit deid
1588 King Cat. 51.
The sonne of God … hes sufferit all things to the vttermaist

3. To undergo, submit to (a legal process, trial, punishment). 1398 Acts I 211/2.
Gif thai be nocht warnyt til aper before the lieutenand na his deputis na sufrys nocht the law before thaim thai sal aper at the next iustice air
c1420 Wynt. v 2490.
That nane suld drawe Clerkys for till suffyre lawe Befor [ony] juges seculare
c1420 Wynt. viii 3203.
The lawche he gert thame suffyre thare
14.. Burgh Laws c. 54 (A).
Gif scho makis ewill aill … scho sal gif viii s. for hir amerciament or suffer the law of the toune
14.. Burgh Laws c. 69 (A).
Na childe … sal suer athe na ber witnes in burgh bot his wardan … sall gyf ansuer for him and sall suffer iugement be the law of the burgh
1533 Boece 315.
King Aidane … requirit Brude to deliuer the transgressouris to suffir law for … cryme of lese maieste
1535 Stewart 21384.
He thame send … to Rome, In capitall quhair that tha sufferit dome
1588 Crawford Mun. Invent. II 192.
It is lukit he sall suffer ane assyise the tyme of the nixt conventioun

4. To inflict pain upon, cause to suffer. a1500 Lanc. 1368.
Yow sufferith them, oppressith and anoyith

5. intr. To endure, consent to be or do something. 1494 Loutfut MS 19a.
[The camel] will nocht gang na suffir to be led out of the pas that he is customyt to gang
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxviii 17.
He for our saik that sufferit to be slane
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxiii 70.
My hart … may nocht suffer nor sustene So grit abusioun for to se
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 10/94.
Thus Jesus … As martir sufferit for to de
1513 Doug. ix xiii 40.
To gif the bak, and fle away, Nowder hys greif, nor curage suffir may
1533 Gau 41/6.
He sufert onder Poncio Pilat to be crucifeit
1596 Dalr. I 271/25.
The Peichtes be na meanes wil suffir to be vndir the impire of a stranger
1597 Calderwood V 667.
Sall we suffer … to see our owne lawfull prince … murthered?
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 237.
Thay … wald not suffre to slay ony beast, ȝea nocht a louce

6. Of immaterial things: To be adversely affected; to suffer a setback. 1615 Arch. Scot. IV 88.
If myne affaires could suffer, (a great many of which maye have their event from your hi favoir)
1661 A. Jaffray Diary 34.
Wherein the kirk … was likely to suffer not a little

II. To allow, tolerate.

7. tr. To allow, permit to be or do (something): a. With an inanimate or material thing as object. Also (once) with infinitive phrase as object.a. (1) 1389 Liber Melros II 449.
We bid and commandes that the forsaid wollys at your portis … yhe suffre to be shippit
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 608.
That they shold nought Suffre … Anny iniure to hyre be done
1409 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 72.
That nane of the forsaide lordis sal do na suffir to be done … to nouthir of thaim sl[achtir] [etc.]
14.. Burgh Laws c. 20 (A).
He may suffer that lande to be wnbiggit quhil the tym he be of eys to byg
a1500 Colk. Sow i 482.
For loif of pennyis To suffer honour perreis
1513 Doug. vii vii 33.
Wylt thou suffir … thy ceptre and crown delyuerit be To ȝon banyst new cum Troiane menȝe?
1558-66 Knox I 107.
Yf, in any joyt, he sufferred the authoritie of the Pape to be violated
1573 Reg. Privy C. II 314.
To suffer … foure akeris … to be marchit, methit and mett for manse and gleib
1578 Glenartney Doc.
That na persone tak upoun hand to pasture or suffer thair guides to cum within our said forrest
1587 Aberd. Council Lett. I 9.
To the … evill example to utheris to do the lyk giff this be suffert to remane unpunist
1596 Dalr. I 142.
In na place he suffired sa mekle as the smallest discord to brek furth amang his nychtbouris
a1651 Calderwood VII 203.
Twentie-sixe shipps were suffered to come through the narrow seas from Spaine to Dunkirk
1652 Glasgow B. Rec. II 233.
1664 Pitcairn Spiritual Sacrifice 624.
If thou suffer deadness by little and little to creep on, it will turn to a habit which will hardly be shaken off
(2) 1460 Swintons App. xliii.
Quharfor I besek ȝur mast gracious heenas, that ȝe wald wichesauf suffyr to forther my sympilnes to haf justice done

b. With a person or animal as object. Variously const.Also with inanimate subject.(1) c1475 Wall. viii 671.
I suffer ȝow to say that it is sa
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 618.
God sufferis synnaris for a space to ryng
1498–9 Acta Conc. II 303.
[Patrik] sal suffir the sade Schir James til tak up the malis and proffittis of the sadis landis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxv 13.
Thow suffer me to wirk gif thow do weill
1509–10 Edinb. B. Rec. I 128.
That nouthir thir prentissis nor nane vthir persoun of the said craft be sufferit to sett up buith within this said burgh without he be fundin sufficient habill and worthi thairto
1531 Bell. Boece I 58.
The nobillis … concludit to suffir nane of Durstus blude to regne
1533 Gau 29/27.
That God is wordine mane and suffert to de
1537 Douglas Corr. 352.
1568 Cal. Sc. P. II 452.
1558-66 Knox I 364.
To suffer everie man to leaf at libertie of conscience
1575 Orkney Oppress. 8.
a1578 Pitsc. II 242/4.
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 12.
Gif anie free tenant … lets and suffers his dogs, to runne within his awne land
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 62.
1681 Acts XII 44/1.
They shall never … suffer any Papist to be in any publick trust power or imployment in the same [kingdome]
(2) 1457 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 183.
That he haue na … intromittinge with the said landis … bot suffir the said our chanceler and his citeneris off Brechine bruik and jois thaim
1533 Boece 283.
Gif it be lefull that myserabill ȝoldin creaturis … may be sufferit implore … mercye
(3) 1375 Barb. xiii 384.
Bot I trow thai sall hastily Be conweyit with sic folk that thai I trow mycht suffre wele away
(4) 1565 Cal. Sc. P. II 183.
Seldome beyng suferd to be at home wharby I spent and got letyll
(5) 1533 Gau 105/1.
Thay wil noder prech thair self nay ȝeit suffer oders quhilk wald prech
(6) 1513 Doug. ii x 195.
Suffir me The bargane agane begun at I may se
(7) 1456 Hay II 40/13.
For the nobilnesse of the ordre [sc. of knighthood] is sa worschipfull that it sufferis na man that has mahaigne na demembrit … to be admyttit
1513 Doug. vi ii 35.
Infors mair strangly to resist Agane dangeris, than fortune sufferis thé
1562-3 Winȝet II 53/14.
Sik quantitie of wyne quhilk nothir hes micht to slay nor ȝit may be digestit; nothir causis to de, nor sufferis to leue
1688 Culross II 183.
Albeit that trade [sc. of girdlemaking] is the hardiest of all toylls and sufers feu to live to anie age

c. intr. 1456 Hay I 167/13.
Sayand [= seeing] that gude law … wald nocht thole that a thing suld be twis payit, … how mycht that be that law wald suffer to mak a new payment?

8. tr. To countenance; to admit as valid. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 102 (A).
Gif he may set for hym certane resonis to sauf his distres thai salbe sufferit & gif he may nocht thai sal be raisyt

9. To tolerate, put up with. c1500 Interl. Droich 128.
Ȝit trow ȝe ony heir besyde, Micht suffir me all nicht
1513 Doug. vii viii 32.
Full weil sufferit hir handis the tame deir
1531 Bell. Boece I 1.
He couth not suffer the correctioun of freindis
1531 Bell. Boece I 15.
To pas on thame [sc. the Picts] haistely as wrangus and manesworne pepill … quhais injure wes sa importabill, it micht suffir na delay
1533 Boece 575.
Becaus he mycht nocht suffir the cacheing of ane hors, he devisit to be borne in ane littir
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5359.
Wo to Papis! I say for me, Quhilk sufferis sic enormitie
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6755.
Fy vpon ȝow that sufferis sic ane thing
a1561 Norvell Meroure 56b.
That he shuld not haue reputatione, Aboue me … I may not suffre, but will defend the contrair
1568–9 St. A. Kirk S. 314.
[That] he suffer na opin cairting and dysyng nycht walking and drynking in his hows
a1578 Pitsc. II 320/16, 17.
That na beggaris nor yddill men sould be sufferrit bot thay war agit and decreppit nor na beggaris sould be sufferit bot within thair awin paroche
1578–9 Reg. Privy C. III 87.
The said Walter being a clannit man on the Bordour, quhais possessioun ane yeir will be comptit a kyndnes gif it be sufferit
1581 Burne Disput. Sig. a viijb.
The tyme vil cum quhen thay vil nocht suffer healthsum doctrine
1598 Aberd. B. Rec. II 169.
The bailleis to attend … on the meall mercatt, that na disordour nor abose be sufferit theirin
1596 Dalr. I 258/11.
His wyfe … culde nocht suffir his foull, inordinat, and voluptuous vaiging by her
1605 Reg. Privy C. VII 89.
That sic a unfamous byke of lawles lymmaris salbe sufferit
1621 Acts IV 616/2.
[The clerks and writers demand] suche vnressonable and exhorbitant pryces for thair wreatis as ought not to be sufferit in a weill governit commoun wealthe
1627 Banff Ann. I 57.
Give your wisdomes suffer him on punischeit he will owirgang the rest of the towne
c1650 Spalding II 153.
Sum thocht … to tak and waird him or be plane force to kill him; whiche the King sufferit with great patiens
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) i 88.
The king will suffer us, perchance, As Lewis doth Huggonots in France

10. intr. Of a condition of things: To admit of a certain thing being done. 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 18.
In speciall of the vaine callit Mediana of the richt arme takand in quantitie as strenth, temperament, consuetude, aige and tyme may suffir

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