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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Wele, Weil(l, adv. and interj. Also: vel(e, weil(l)e, veil(l, veille, ueill, viel, weyll, weyl(l)e, veyle, wel(l, welle, vell, uell, weal(l, weale, veale, ueale, weel(l, wale, wail(l, vaile, wayll, will, vill, wall, woll. [ME and e.m.E. wel (c1175), wulle (Layamon), will(e, wil, welle (all Cursor M.), wele, weyl (both Manning), well (Chaucer), weel (Wyclif), weile (?a1400), OE wel, well, ON vel, MLG wal, MDu. wel.]

A. adv.I. Modifying verbs.The sorts of verbs modified are indicated at each sense. The lists are not, however, complete and determining the sense in each case depends not only on the particular verb but on the whole context of the occurrence. Hence the same sort of verb may be indicated in different senses. Furthermore, there is considerable overlap between the senses so that on some occasions particular examples might equally well have been assigned to other senses.

1. With verbs of behaving, conducting oneself, esp. to do: In accordance with moral principles, virtuously. 1375 Barb. iv 227.
Thai that weill ar liffand her Sall wyn the sege quharoff thai [sc. devils] wer Tumblyt
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. v 44.
I say to you, lufe your ennimyes, do ye wele to thame that hates you
a1568 Scott i 99.
Thai gyde nocht ill that governis weill thame sell
1585 James VI Ess. 74.
Let vs imploy that time that God hath send vs, In doing weill
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 354.
The children of this world have much robbed joy that is not well-come

2. With verbs of greeting, receiving, treating (another), intending: Kindly, charitably; in a friendly, agreeable fashion. See also Mene v.1 1 (2) for further examples. For weill menyt see Mene v.1 1 (3).(a) 1375 Barb. iii 360.
The queyn … come to the castell Quhar hyr folk war ressawyt weill
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 172.
Weill gretis yow, lord
a1500 Seven S. 1924.
Defowle nocht my lordis bed That weile has fosterit me
1533 Gau 26/24.
That He wil do weil to hime and haiff cuir of hime [etc.]
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 18.
Treit wele Maxwell and sa wele to hym
(b) 1563 Misc. Maitl. C. III 320.
Ane gentyll woman quhai prayed hyr to do wayll to the barne

b. Modifying a past participle. See also separate entries. 1549 Compl. 3/9.
Ȝour … dochter … quha is presentlye veil tretit in the gouernance of hyr fadir of lau
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV ii 159.
Nor ȝet any wyse to proceid judicialie, quhilk was weell resavit and admitted by thair Honours
1558-66 Knox II 379.
This bill was not weall accepted of the said erle; and yitt did he utter no part of his displeasur in publict
1600 Dunblane Test. III 24b.
To sie his bairnis weill handlit
1629 Annandale Corr. 281.
If yow can do this young man any kyndnes, … it will be wele bestoudd

c. In the formal greeting at the commencement of a letter. 1533 Acts Sederunt i 14.
Chancelar, President and Lordis of our Counsale and Sessioune, we gret yow hartlie wele
1568 Q. Mary in Facs. Nat. MSS III lviii.
Reuerend fader and traist cousigne and counsalour, we greit yow weill
1594 Misc. Spald. C. I 8.
Rycht traist freind, We gryt yow hairtlie weil

3. With verbs of holding, keeping, observing, considering: Faithfully, carefully. 1375 Barb. xi 452.
He said him self suld weill Kepe the entre
1375 Barb. xiii 546.
His cunnand has he haldyn well
a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 306.
Maistry is to kep it [sc. chastity] wele
c1420 Wynt. v 27.
Thai … kepyd welle All the lawys
15.. Wyf Awcht. 32.
Keip weill the gaslingis fra the gled
1567 G. Ball. 31.
Mark weill thairfoir, … How Christis croce, is for ȝow meet
a1568 Bann. MS 135a/26.
Obey weill to the kirk
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 173/123.
Myn awin deir sone I thé requeir Thir documentis that thow wald leyr And keip thame weill
1593 Aberd. B. Rec. II 89.
[To inquire] giff the commoun burs of the toun be weill and faythfullie kepit
1600 Breadalbane Lett. 16 Dec.
Luik that the lairds of Powrie be weill bund in warrandice of the landis

b. In the wording of grants of land, etc. 1407 Charter (Reg. H.) C.O. No. 32.
To be haldyn … the forsaide rycht … of the forsaide landis … frely quitly honorabily welle ande in pese
1475 Lennox Mun. 104.
My landis of the Hangatschaw … to be haldyn … halyly, quietly, weill and in pece, without ony reuocacioun
1514-6 St. A. Formulare II 115.
With all and syndry utheris … fredomes, frelie quietlie wele and in peax but ony revocatioun or agane calling
1546 Rec. Earld. Orkney 231.
[The land to be held … ] alse frelie, veil, and in paxe as onye outwell lande
1583 Red Bk. Menteith II 364. 1562 Crim. Trials I i 342.

4. With verbs of agreeing, dealing with, regulating, etc.: Satisfactorily, fairly, properly, duly.(a) 1375 Barb. ii 332.
God may rycht weill our werdis dele For multitud mais na victory
1375 Barb. viii 497.
That … quhen he had ȝemyt a ȝer In wer as a gud bachiller The … castell of Douglas … Than mycht he weile ask … Hyr amowris and hyr drouery
a1400 Leg. S. xiv 34.
[He] mad a buke … for to kene men wele to wirk
c1420 Ratis R. 1028.
Quhat lord that can nocht veil do swa, Leif of, and farly gang hym fra
c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 64.
‘Wele is vs begone, That with oure makis are togider here’
c1475 Wall. i 347.
He and thai couth neuir weyle accord
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 208/32.
Sum to the riche gevis geir That micht his giftis weill forbeir
1513 Doug. vi viii 68.
All that thou aucht to Deiphobus, ilk deill Thou hest perfurnyst worthely and weil
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 90.
That the letter be vaysely med and vith gentill vourdis the clarke off the register can make it veille
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 84.
He … stude weill ay in his ladies grace
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 531.
Bot in-to gude part tak it [sc. this poem] weil
1567 Sat. P. vii 27.
Quhilk charge … thay cannot weill refuse, Les schamefullie thair office thay abuse
1573-1600 King Cat. in Cath. Tr. 215/18.
To iudge vniustlye, rashly nocht veale trying the cause
1622-6 Bisset II 245/7.
Gif they will nocht sweir, they be bound to ordoure there saill weill and trewilie befoir they pairt fra there charge
1622-6 Bisset II 249/2.
Gif the schip … war ankered with twa or thrie cabellis, they aucht weill to gang out, but the maisteris leif, leving sum of the marynaris to keip the schip
1665 Misc. Spald. C. I 40.
I am werie confident … that the bussiness of our familie shall goe weall
1669 Laing MSS 373.
I can not bot say he behav'd weal
(b) a1400 Leg. S. vi 423.
[The] aucht wel ma be, For to luf hospitalyte

b. Modifying a past participle. See also separate entries. ?1438 Alex. ii 1407.
The Bauderanes deuys … was courtes, weill taucht and keynd
c1420 Wynt. v 2135.
Swa the destyne wes welle Fulfillyd
?14.. Ship Laws c. 12 (H2).
The maistir is haldin to se that all the gudis be kepit & stablit & welestowit as it aw to be or he pas out of the havin
1456 Hay II 104/3.
Mony notable … ensamplis of … ancient faderis of armes wele techit and instruct in the actis of noblesse
1476 Acts II 114/2.
The dome gevin … wes evil gevin and wele again said
c1475 Wall. v 950.
Quhen Schyr Jhon had his tayll weyll wndirstand Off nane othir fra thine furth tuk he heid
1490 Irland Mir. I 74/8.
Suppos his tovnge and langage be faire and sueit in metire & well componit
1545 Bk. Carlaverock II 27.
It shuld be wele done … not to do in eny maner … quhairby ȝe shuld displeis his majeste
1546 Acts II 473/2.
To see that all thingis be weill and dewlie done
1548–9 Corr. M. Lorraine 295.
That tha be honest men … and that tha breng na man wyth tham … bot quhilk is well gifin
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 59/3.
Ue haue alreaddie ma goode lawis then are uell execute
1634 Black Bk. Taymouth 389.
That na … buyer of horse [etc.] … buy ony of thame … without sufficient caution … that the saidis guidis are weill come; and gif they doe utherwayes, and that they be stowin guidis that they buy, [etc.]
1649 Red Bk. Grandtully II 143.
It is weil done not to show ȝourselff particular for any faction
a1651 Calderwood II 295.
The religioun … she … beleeveth to be weill-grounded
1661 Laing MSS 284.
You may mend what you find … not weall vordit
1664 Rothesay B. Rec. 79.
He said … 'quhat mean ye to be cutting the trie in the nicht.' He answeret ‘have ye anything to say against it’ and Robert Stewart said to him it was not weill done and left him
a1699 Skene Agric. MS (ed.) 69.
That shoe be weill wintered and not hungered
1674 Douglas Corr. 275.
The great soumes he hes gotten by his father, quhich, if they had been ueill manadged, myght have payed all the debt
(b) 1586 Cal. Sc. P. IX 10.
I think yt shalbe woll don thait your honor mycht wryt to the Lord Scroppe

5. Of (the outcome or progress of) a task, event, etc., with verbs of action, freq. to do: Effectively, capably, skilfully, successfully. Also proverb. b. In the sentences say weill and do weill in subject position with the sense of ‘actions speak louder than words’.(1) 1375 Barb. i 118.
1375 Barb. xvi 101 (C).
Schir Richard of Clare … Send wicht ȝhomen that veill couth schut
1375 Barb. xx 614, 615.
The gud erle gouernyt the land And held the power weill to warand, The lave sa weill mantemyt he And held in pes swa the countre
c1420 Wynt. vii 3373.
Hys kyrk … In all he gert be byggyt welle
c1475 Wall. vii 1148.
The bryg … Off gud playne burd was weill and junctly maid
1490 Irland Mir. II 76/25.
Mony … serue God weil in mekle merit that gettis na reward
1567 Sat. P. iii 24.
Ascanius … weill ane steid could steir
1567 Sat. P. iii 49.
With Romaine hand he could weill leid ane pen
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Georgics iv 336.
Ligea, suavis (that sang weill)
1629 Justiciary Cases I 105.
Thair confessiones wrocht weill aganis thame selffis to thair destructiones
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 132.
A blind man … that could play weill to the gooffe
1681 W. Robertson Phraseol. Gen. (1693) s.v. Speed.
This business speeds well under our hands
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 874.
Weill bydes, weill betydes
(2) ?1438 Alex. i 3107.
He to do weill had sic will That he na semblance maid of ill; His spere was tint bot he his brand Had … drawin … to delyuer all his menȝe
1456 Hay II 164/10.
Mony … say thai sall do wele, and quhen thai mount in governaunce thai do all othir wayis
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 6.
Giff ȝe do weill, gar thame daunce heidles, and than ilke guidfallow may get a lumpe of thair landis
1585 James VI Ess. 54.
Thingis, quhilk now we obserue, and eschew, and dois weil in sa doing
?16… James VI in Facs. Nat. MSS III lxix.
Aluayes ye sall do uell to haiste als sone as ye can
1666 Annandale Corr. 309.
A littill more cannell watter wold doe weille
1667 Highland P. II 24.
My lads yow have done verie weel
(b) 1634 Hist. Fam. Seton 765.
Al they that ar heer dois viel and ar in goud account
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 230.
Do weill and have weill
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 242.
Do well and doubt na man, and do weill and doubt all men
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1642.
Wark beares witnes quha weill dois
b. 1567 G. Ball. 208.
Say weill is slipper and makis mony wylis, Do weill is semelie, without ony gylis
a1568 Bann. MS 83a/4.
Say weill is gud bot do weill is bettir

c. Modifying a past participle. See also separate entries.Also weill wsyt (see Us(e v. 4 b), wele won (wyn) (see Win p.p. and ppl. adj. 3), weill wrocht (see Wrocht ppl. adj.). 1375 Barb. x 731.
Ariste … dang on thaim sa douchtely That the king weile reskewit was
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 64.
Weill wroght wes the wall, And payntit with pride
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 148/73.
Weill spokin, Ressoun my brother
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 156/190.
The tailȝeour that wes nocht weill sittin … to the grund he socht
a1540 Freiris Berw. 103 (B).
Ȝone loft, Quhilk is weill wrocht in to the hallis end
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 237.
Ane campioun … Weill practikit with speir and scheild
15.. Clar. ii 1728.
Ane fair sparhalk weill maid
1558 Reg. Great S. 282/1.
Tua thowsand laid of petis weill wynnyng
1628–9 M. Works Acc. II 256.
The dores and chymnayis to be marbillit and the pend … to be weill layit over with blew gray
1661 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 200.
Which he haid this day delyverit to the counsell weell done

6. With verbs of giving, dressing, living, marrying, etc.: In a fitting manner, excellently, to a highly acceptable level. 1375 Barb. ii 174.
He serwyt ay lelely And the tother … Rewardyt him weile his seruice
1375 Barb. vi 204.
Men armyt weill [C. weill armyt]
a1400 Leg. S. xvii 264.
Vele it dowit he
c1420 Wynt. viii 4866.
A damyselle Arayid jolyly and welle
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1351 (H).
His hude of skarlate, bourdourit weill with silk
a1500 Seven S. 874.
Marijt baith his douchteris wele
a1500 K. Hart 130.
This wourthy quene … With hir fresche court, arrayit weill at richt [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece I ii.
Ane hes that mycht ane hundreth weil sustene
1535 Stewart 40278.
He levis weill that levis into eis
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 306.
They haue three sisters, setled and well to live

b. Modifying a past participle. See also separate entries.Also weill accuterit (see Accouterit p.p.), weill armyt (see Armit adj.1), weyll kemmyt (see Kemmit p.p. and ppl. adj.), weill membrit (see Membrit adj.), wele nurist (see Nurist ppl. adj.), weill soundand (see Soundand ppl. adj. 1), weill spekand (see Spekand ppl. adj. b. Cf. also Wele spokin ppl. adj.). c1420 Wynt. viii 2484.
Twenty thowsand men Welle horsyd and welle armyd
c1420 Wynt. ix 2826 (A).
Withe a nobyll company Weil arayit and dantely
a1500 Bk. Chess 462.
Fair ladye … A crovne of gold apone hir hed weile dicht
1566–7 St. A. Kirk S. 285.
Hyr said father suld caus hyr be weyll marieit

c. Post-positional after a past participle. 1375 Barb. xiii 54 (C).
Fiff hundreth armyt weill in steill
1375 Barb. xiv 289 (C).
Stedis trappit weill
1375 Barb. viii 222.
Arrayit sarraly and weile
1513 Doug. viii x 69.
Legharnes … , Grathit and polyst weill
1513 Doug. ix iv 10.
Euery man stud reddy in hys geir Enarmyt weill
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 79.
He was … Proportionat weill

7. With verbs of bearing, doing: Bravely, courageously. 1375 Barb. xi 650.
He is in perell … with ȝour leve I will me speid To help him … The king said … 'A fute till him thow sall nocht ga Giff he weile dois lat him weile [C. veill] ta'
1375 Barb. xvi 428.
The archeris weill has borne thaim thar For weill and hardily schot thai
1375 Barb. xvii 415 (C).
Thai of the toune so weill [E. stoutly] thame bare
c1475 Wall. i 40.
Quhen it [sc. Scotland] was lost with tresoune and falsnes … he fred it weyle

8. With verbs of happening, befalling: By the nature of things, as might be expected, with good reason. 1375 Barb. iii 293.
Haiff he lyff-dayis weill mai fall That [etc.]
1375 Barb. xii 272.
Giff that ws fall as weill may tid
1375 Barb. xix 625 (C).
‘It mycht haf fallyn weill,’ said he
1375 Barb. xx 549.
Rome is welle [C. wele] off mycht Throw strenth off armys in-to fycht To wencus thar fayis
c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 14.
Wist thou thy payne to cum … For sorow and drede wele myght thou wepe and waille
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 279.
Rude is thy wede … Wele aucht thou be aferit of the licht
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 165.
As [etc.] … So weill according [etc.]
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 154/8.
Thairfoir it followis weill that [etc.]
1680 Highland P. I 318.
You are … to give a peck of meall to each of the division of Argyll [etc.] … These of Lorne may very weell provyde themselves, seing they have not keept the rendevouze

9. With verbs of travelling, living: Without harm, safely, in good circumstances. Also proverb. 1375 Barb. iii 206.
Syne our Lord sic grace thaim lent That thai come weill till thar entent
1375 Barb. xiii 629.
Thai come to Berwik weill & … In-to the toune ressawyt war
1375 Barb. xix 813.
Hame wele cummyn ar thai
a1400 Leg. S. xl 194.
Niniane … in Bretan com … & his frendis fand wele farand
c1420 Wynt. vi 2054.
Fayre on thi waye, Owthire welle or ill as happyne may
c1420 Wynt. vii 2958.
Schyr Willame Besat … gert the Kyng weylle fayre that nycht
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 562.
Adew, sir, … Weil mot ȝe fair
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 74/60.
God and Sanct Jeill heir ȝow convoy Baith sone and weill
1567 Sat. P. vii 19.
Mycht thay not weill … In quyetnes leifit in peace
c1570 Facs. Nat. MSS III lxvi.
Fair weal and God keip you
1625 Lithgow Poet. Remains 69.
The angells joyed, To see his sp'rit, from hence, so wele convoyed
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1014.
Keip yow weil fra the devill and the lairds bairnis

10. With verbs of accomplishing, achieving, doing: Easily, without difficulty. 1375 Barb. iii 111.
That wes sa strait … That he mycht nocht weill turn his sted

11. With verbs of thinking, knowing, understanding, etc.: Clearly, for sure, distinctly. Also in parenthetic clauses and with modifiers richt, our, full. Also proverb.Also wele sene (see Sene (ppl.) adj. l c).(1) 1375 Barb. i 149.
He thocht weile … That he suld slely fynd the gate [etc.]
1375 Barb. i 264.
Ȝe may weile se … How hard a thing that threldome is
1375 Barb. viii 188 (C).
a1400 Leg. S. i 107.
He knew hym weille … Bot he na mycht spek
?1438 Alex. ii 2221.
The king saw and persauit weill That ielusy gart hir speik
1460 Hay Alex. 3431.
Sansoun knew vele the duke Bites baner
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 811.
I forsaik noght to feght, … I do thé weill for to wit
c1475 Wall. i 59.
Fra tyme that he [sc. Edward I] … herd tell weyle Scotland stude in sic cace
c1475 Wall. i 246.
Thai wyst nocht weylle at quhat ȝett he in ȝeide
1490 Irland Mir. I 18/6.
Jhesu knew weil oure febilnes
1513 Doug. vi Prol. 14.
Be war to lak, les than ȝe knew weil quhat
1521–2 Acts XII 39/2.
We weill understand quhat [etc.]
1535 Stewart 41500.
Ane knycht … I knaw nocht weill his name
1560 Rolland Seven S. 613.
The great ioy … My waik ingyne can na way weill compas
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 75.
Gif the ansuerar vnderstand not veill the hail text [etc.]
1596 Dalr. II 417/12.
That al sal weil vnderstand his wil to be … bair of ony couering of dissimulance
1604-31 Craig v 5.
As I lent to my lug, this well I heard
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1698.
Weill wats the mouse, that the cat is out of the house
(2) 1375 Barb. iv 61 (C).
Schir Neill the Brys, I wat weill
c1420 Wynt. vi 482.
Yha, wyt yhe welle, a schrewe fyne
1460–70 Innes Sketches 505.
As we weyll knaw
1581 Sat. P. xliv 146.
Meluene can play the fule, as ȝe veil knau
(3) 1375 Barb. ii 339.
And wate rycht weill quhat honour is
a1400 Leg. S. i 356.
Thu May knaw be pruf richt weil now [etc.]
c1475 Wall. i 171.
Glaskow thai gaif, as it our weile was kend, To dyocye in Duram
1513 Doug. i iii 62.
Junois dissate and ire full weill he kend
1567 G. Ball. 187.
The mair thay blaw, full weill thay knaw, The mair [etc.]
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxix 66.
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1133.
Manie speirs the gait they knaw ful weill

12. With verbs of behaving, acting, knowing, liking, happening, etc.: Entirely, completely, fully, thoroughly, to a high degree of completeness or generality. Also with modifiers richt, wondire, etc.(1) 1375 Barb. i 202.
Thai watyt hym wele with gret scaith
a1400 Leg. S. xxii 347.
Als with stawis bet hyme wele
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 64.
Quho coud wele endyte How all the feldis … Depaynt war
(b) 1375 Barb. ii 93.
Befor the byschop schar Had weill hard all the letter red
1375 Barb. xiv 91.
The castell weill wes stuffyt then … with wyttaill and with men
?1438 Alex. ii 129.
Gudeman … Comfort thé weill and tell me hale Thy name
a1508 Kynd Kittok 3 (Ch. & M.).
Thai callit her kynd Kittok quhasa hir weill kend
1513 Doug. ix Prol. 48.
Weil hym lykis the goshalk
1513 Doug. xi iii 69.
Weil lykis ws … To help till rays this … wall
1533 Boece 109b.
In Orknay … inhabitantis grewe weill in age, liffit mony ȝeris
1571 J. Maitland in Sat. P. xxvii 20.
Scho is a bruikle barge And may na bitter blastis weill abyde
1596–7 Misc. Spald. C. I 86.
Weill haif ye schemit me, I sall gar the best of yow repent
(c) c1420 Wynt. iv 1853.
Thai relevyd welle All thare defawte off yrne and stelle
c1420 Wynt. v 1508.
A doctor … That welle was lettryd
c1420 Wynt. v 3924.
Scho [wes] arguyd that that mycht be Ondone welle for hyr honeste
(d) c1475 Wall. ii 117.
Wallace was harnest on his body weyle
(e) 1567 Crail B. Ct. 25 Nov.
Wilyeam … rememberis vill ane of the saidis ackaris to be of mukit land
(f) c1610 Melville Mem. 360.
Abused … be myngnons that he lyked weall of
(2) a1400 Leg. S. i 322.
Drede na deile, For I sal helpe thé wondire veill
c1420 Wynt. v 2820 (C).
Of thi lippyr swa thow sal Thi heil richt weil recouir all
c1475 Wall. v 513.
The crukis off Forth he knawis wondyr weylle
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 456.
Hee luifit ouer weil ȝong counsel
a1500 Peblis to Play 164.
Lord God richt weill that sat him
1511 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 107.
Cunningis … haue riddillit all the erdis of the linkis richt weille
1581 Sat. P. xliv 193.
It may staik thé ful veil The fyre to big
1596 Dalr. I 203/10.
That the ald band … betuene the Scottis and Pechtes pleiset him verie weil

b. Modifying a past participle. See also separate entries.Also welle lettryd, weill letterit (see Letterit p.p. and ppl. adj., weell qualified (see Qualifyit ppl. adj. 1 (1)), weill sene (see Sene (ppl.) adj. 3). 1375 Barb. xix 709.
Quhill that the nycht weill fallin be
c1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
I sall … make it well kennyt that I haff trewly kepit myn athe
c1475 Wall. v 143.
Wallace twa men amang the ost in went, Dissemblit weylle, that no man suld thaim ken
1492 Myll Spect. 285/5.
The king … maid … this evill ald woman to be byrnt as scho had weill disservit
1514 Irvine Mun. I 35.
That … ilkan of thame be wele abuȝeit and bodin for were … in quhite harnes … gluvis of plate grete speris axis [etc.]
1521 Edinb. Hammermen 103b.
The brether of the hammermen veil gadderit at the hous of Vilȝem Smechberd
1527 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 85.
Of the quhilk sowm the saidis Jhone [etc.] … haldis thaim full and weille pait
1540 Lynd. Sat. 151 (B).
Thankit be God, I am weill hippit
1545 Douglas Corr. 154.
1549 Aberd. B. Rec. I 269.
Breid … that be guid stuf, fresche, veill bouttit
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 46.
I sall set furth sic doingis done be him als larglie and weill extendit till his disprayse
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 86.
Gif I denied their consequent, they would be weill fashed to prove it
1614 Crim. Trials III 369.
Thay within held good for sex dayes, being weel prouyded with pulder
1650 Blairs P. 27.
Til the treaty be ueale aduanced
1693 Misc. Spald. C. II 299.
The Lady Blair is now weel recovered

13. With verbs of wishing, asserting, saying, believing, having, etc.: Truly, for a certainty, absolutely. Also proverb. 1375 Barb. i 21.
Certis thai suld weill hawe prys That in thar tyme war wycht and wys
1375 Barb. xv 470 (C).
He vist veill than that thai vald ficht
1375 Barb. xviii 87.
‘Ik ask at ȝow … That … ȝe … Wald … stand on fer … And se our fycht … ' Thai said weill that thai suld do swa
a1400 Leg. S. v 438.
That mon ȝeld resone, wele thou trew
a1400 Leg. S. xxiv 253.
The sacristane … lowyt hyre as he wele aucht
?1438 Alex. ii 3764.
Draw on … for ȝe may Haue wele the first draucht of the play
c1420 Ratis R. 12.
Gyf swyk caus sall fal in thé, Trow weill at thow sal punyst be
1456 Hay I 15/22.
And sa may it wele seme to be callit
1456 Hay I 19/28.
As God he [sc. Christ] dred nocht the dede, bot wele as man
a1500 Henr. Fab. 104.
Houngrie men may not weill leue on lukis
c1475 Wall. ix 1208.
It sall ye se, trast weill, in werrament
c1475 Wall. ix 1305.
With his bait thai mycht weill passage hawe
a1500 Seven S. 2182.
Thai are the caus, I dar wele saye, That [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 203.
Thought men be ferse, wele I fynd, fra falȝe ther curage, Thar is [etc.]
1540 Lynd. Sat. 809.
Weill said, be him that herreit hell
a1578 Pitsc. I 27/21.
He thocht veill be this … fassoun … his authoritie sould be contempnit
1596 Dalr. I 3/19.
Appeiris weil, and is a rasone verie euident
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 869.
I told you weil my maich wald die
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1671.
Weil said quo the tod quhair sits your hennis?

II. Modifying adjectives.

14. Fully, very, rather, quite. a. Modifying an adjective.(a) 1375 Barb. i 359.
A weile gret quhile thar duellyt he
1375 Barb. xiv 302.
Thai … fled … And levyt … Weill mony off thar gud men dede
a1400 Leg. S. ii 325.
The morne weil ayrly
a1400 Leg. S. iii 807.
Al thai that vele wylly was
a1400 Leg. S. xxxii 38.
It is a wele lang story
1407 Montgomery Mem. 20.
Quhilk infeftment is weill auld, the letteris … be schort spaice … wil becum skairclie legiable
1462 Paterson Ayr & Wigton III 340.
Of the quhilk forsayde soume … we halde us weyll content
c1475 Wall. i 438.
He for wo weyle ner worthit to weide
c1500 Fyve Bestes 184.
In his grammere was he wele perfyte
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6282.
Of thy callyng be rycht weill content
1562-3 Winȝet I 73/10.
Hiech materis weill obscuir in scriptuir
1610 Breadalbane Lett. 16 April.
The day that the laird of Weme is summond … is the xvi day of Maij, I think ȝour maister will think the day weill schort bot we war content to get it ony way
(b) ?1438 Alex. i 2552.
Emynedus … straucht his steid And he him bare wale gude speid
?1438 Alex. i 1964.
a1500 Bk. Chess 1661.
A vaile gret clerk

b. Modifying an adverb or prepositional phrase. 1375 Barb. ii 120.
Thar na hors is … Sa [wycht], na ȝeit sa weill at hand
1375 Barb. vi 449.
[They] sesyt weile hastily in hand [etc.]
1375 Barb. xix 596.
He weill oft wes hard assayit
a1400 Leg. S. xii 374.
The knawlage van vel nere … of all the lawis
?1438 Alex. ii 7445.
I knaw that ald … Weill far better than ȝe do
c1420 Wynt. iv 2582 (W).
All about it the circumscriptioun, Writtin weill sa invyroune
c1420 Wynt. viii 1798 (W).
All thai bodyis … are in blis, as weill is like
a1500 Quare Jel. 33.
Wele long I walkit there
1513 Doug. vi xv 113.
The tother port is forgit wail perfite Of eliphantyne
1513 Doug. x xiii 78.
He wepyt wail sair for hys fader deir
1576 Crim. Trials I ii 51.
Ane honest wele elderlie man
a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) 44.
He behaved himself well insolently
1652 Johnston Diary II 174.
I … brought my daughter weal out to landwert
1694 Annandale Corr. 72.
I wish my greatt unckle were weell in Scottland

c. With comparative or superlative adjectives or adverbs. 1375 Barb. xvii 602.
Scaffaldis … weill heyar than the wall
a1400 Leg. S. i 276.
And do weile mare at my lyking
?1438 Alex. i 3170.
I dout schame weill mare na deid
?1438 Alex. ii 3755.
Vox ridder weill than rose
c1420 Ratis R. 553.
Thai dar weill bettir traist thar-tyll Than til the empreouris wyll
1535 Stewart 26116.
Fra that tyme furth the weill les he thame dred
a1651 Calderwood II 261.
Yee are the weill worst of the two

d. Wele inoch, weill ineuch, well enough, sufficient(ly, adequate(ly. 1375 Barb. iv 373.
Thai … in a glen thar galay drewch And syne it helyt weill inewch
14.. Acts I 43/2.
It sall suffice wele inoch
1570 Leslie 301.
That micht be weill ineuch avoydit
1595 Skene in Misc. Stair Soc. I 144.
The deir being thairin weill aneuch feid
1603 Moysie 11.
Quhilk he doubtis not they lyk weill anuiche of
1604 Dundonald Par. Rec. 58.
He gat no profeit of his ky fra that forth … his ky being veill ineuch befor
1629 Annandale Corr. 30.
With pacience … yow may cum wele aneughe to your ends

III. With expressions of extent, number, distance, etc.

15. Fully, not less than (a quantity, etc.). 1375 Barb. i 455.
Thai war weill a thowsand
1375 Barb. iii 682.
Weill in mydwart … Betuix Kyntyr and Irland
1375 Barb. ix 520 (C).
He … slew twa hundreth wele & ma
c1400 Troy-bk. ii 3054.
It in pece and rest held he Wele sexty ȝeris
?1438 Alex. ii 8351.
Emynedus … Come prekand … Wele ane bow-draucht and mare
c1475 Wall. iii 257.
Weylle ma na x thousand
a1500 K. Hart 42.
Thir folk … nummerit ane milȝon and weill mo
1513 Doug. Comm. i ii 3.
Eolus … wald schaw the pepill … weill two or thre dais befor, the wynd was to blaw
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 661.
His brand … was weill seuin quarter lang
1553 Balcarres P. 313.
The king … is welbe iij scor mm fut men and xxm horsmen
1622-6 Bisset II 256/28.
There hyre for to go to ane certane place or weill als far

IV. Modifying adverbs.

16. Sa weill, to such a great extent or high degree of completeness or perfection, so completely, entirely or perfectly. Also modifying a past participle.(1) 1375 Barb. vii 257.
‘Dame luffis thow him sa weil,’ said he
a1400 Leg. S. iii 890.
That mycht na mans … Sa wel do as he mowcht
1492 Myll Spect. 295/9.
This man … did sa weill in his iornaye that he had the victorye
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 526.
Thay [sc. the musicians] condiscend sa weill in ane accord That [etc.]
1554 Duncan Laideus Test. 168.
The freris that sae weill can fleitche
1572 Sat. P. xxxiii 68.
Sen James in Falkland deit Nane for my weill sa weill with me aggreit
1581 Sat. P. xliv 158.
Thair sleikit tungis ar sua veil creischit indeid
1622-6 Bisset II 139/10.
Na man can do … sa weill bot he may be amended be utheris
1667 Laing MSS 363.
I nid not giff you a caracktor of them, you cnow them so weall
1683 Coll. Aberd. & B. 104.
Being wrought never so weell, it remains alwayes britle
1605 Inv. Pictures in Clerk of Penicuik MSS (Reg. H.) 6 (1 Jan.).
This more rudish lyke … nor the other, bot not so weall done
(2) a1500 K. Hart 868.
Ewill purvayit folk for weir and sa weill stemit
1535 Stewart 7211.
The Romanis war sa weill graithit into geir

17. As (sa) weill as. a. To the same extent or degree as. Also proverb.b. Not only … but also. Freq. in charters.a. (1) ?14.. Ship Laws c. 15 (B).
He may folow the schyp for to hafe hys hyre als wele as he war thar in
1519 Reg. Privy S. I 475/2.
He may … use the said office in all pointis als wele as he war of the lauchfull age of xxv ȝeris
1535 Stewart 22855.
Thairfoir I wald, alsueill as that ȝe ma, Debait ȝour self wnto ane vther da
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 410.
He can lie as weill as a dog can lick a dish
(2) c1420 Ratis R. 612.
Thar is na creatur levand Sa weill louit … As is that madyne Cheritee
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 115.
The dewill playit nocht so melodiousle and weill as thow crewit
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 662.
Na man can play the fool sa weill as the wise man
b. 1375 Barb. i 124.
Wnfayr thingis may fall … Als weill to-morn as ȝhisterday
1385 Rot. Sc. II 73/2.
By see als vell as … be lande
1389 Wemyss Chart. 23.
Als wele landys and possessiounys nocht nemmyt as nemmyt
1389 Liber Melros 449.
Wollys as wele of thair awin growing as of thair tendys
1400 MacRae Early Sc. Texts No. 7.
Al rychwysse pertenense als weile vnder the erd abufyne the erde als wele noucht nemmyt as nemmyd als wele fer as neir
c1420 Ratis R. 1014.
Be lel … Baith to thi lord and to thi pare And to the les als veil as mare
1586 Glasgow Prot. IX 111.
Deth wald als weill invales amangis the foirsaidis fameleis be famene as be the … pest
1596 Dalr. I 41/15.
Asweil in the eister cost towarde Fife, as southward … thay ar in gret multiplie

18. As weill, also, in addition. 1518 Edinb. B. Rec. I 182.
Nocht anerly to the honour of God … bot als weill to the dayly augmentatioun … of merchandice
1549 Compl. 1/7.
As veil it bringis furtht … hoilsum frute of honour
1549 Compl. 3/23.
Ȝour grace deseruis nocht to be callit ane nobil alanerly … bot as veil [etc.]
1551 Prot. Bk. R. Lumsdane 17a.
The land … that is on sawin als waill that is reiditt … to be sawin be the said Thomas
c1620 Boyd Fl. Zion Exc. xviii/1.
Some bor'd with wimbles, and some also well Did forme the fore deck

b. Might ( … ) as weell, suggesting equivalence in an (implied) comparison. 1680-6 Lauder Observes 7.
They might as weell say he had [etc.]
1689 Acts XII 63/2.
The king might in effect alse well nominate that entear estate of parliament

B. interj.Introducing a remark or qualifying something said previously, freq. little more than a resumptive word. Also reduplicated. a1500 Henr. Fab. 225.
‘Weill, weill, sister,’ quod the rurall mous
a1500 Henr. Fab. 691.
‘Weill,’ quod the volff, ‘sit doun vpon thy kne’
1558-66 Knox II 376.
‘Weall,’ said the Quene, ‘it is war then ye beleve’
1558-66 Knox II 451.
‘Weill,’ said Lethingtoun, ‘I will dip no farder in that heid’
a1578 Pitsc. II 77/3.
The cardinall … ansuerit him furieouslie and said, ‘Weill, Weill, we knaw ȝow and quhat ȝe ar'
a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 886 (see Wow interj.).
1624 Aberd. Council Lett. I 223.
If yea win these pointis [etc.] … he sall have my mailles of Ferryhill to help him wall yea sall communicat this to the provest and bailȝeis
1667 Highland P. II 24.
Weel, my lads, yow have done verie weel, but that [etc.]

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"Wele adv., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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