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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

S(c)harply, Scherply, -lie, adv. Also: s(c)harpe-, schairp-, shairpe- and -lye, -lé. [ME and e.m.E. scharply, OE scearplice; S(c)harp adj.]

1. a. Coupled with Scher(e v.: Keenly, in respect of having a sharp blade, point or weapon.Only in early verse. 1375 Barb. vi 645.
With the swerd that scharply schar The arme fra the body he bar
?1438 Alex. i 1687.
With dartis that richt sharpely share
Ib. ii 1695, etc. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 930.
Sa woundir scharply he schair The berne that the brand bair

b. So as to have a sharp point. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 604.
Ane schaft that scharply was sched

c. Tightly; painfully. ?a1500 Dewoit Exerc. 122.
The fals tormentouris … lowsit Ȝour handis that wer full scharply bund

2. a. With verbs describing actions, chiefly attacking, assailing or pursuing: With energy or vigour; eagerly.Alex. quot. may belong in b. 1375 Barb. ix 638.
How hardyment tane sa sudandly And drewyn to the end scharply May ger … wnlikly thingis Cum … to … gud endingis
?1438 Alex. i 2165.
Succour thame scharpely, gentill king, Or thay be all brocht to ending
c1420 Wynt. viii 5364.
Full hardely Willame off Dowglas and his rowte Schot on thame scharply
a1500 Lanc. 3469.
If that we met them scharply in the berd, The formest sal mak al the laif afferd
c1475 Wall. (1570) v 800.
Of the formest richt scharply doun thay beir
1529 Douglas Corr. 139.
Sa scherply I am persewit … that I ma nocht weill remane within this realme
1533 Boece 64.
To oure nacioun was ane auld consuetude to persew scharplie that beist [sc. the wolf]
1535 Stewart 19455.
Now ma ȝe se … Oure mortall fa … With vnjust battell scharplie ws persew
Ib. 28807.
Adanus … Accusit hes thair [sc. the captains'] negligence richt sair, … That scharpliar wald nocht thair fa persew
1543–4 Corr. M. Lorraine 58.
I wald be scharply put at be the auctorite quhilk I haif fund now
1548–9 Ib. 288.
We … handelit tham swa scharply as we culd quhill ane serwand … wes slane
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 22.
Eduard the Thryd … come wyth ane grit armye and seigit the said toun [sc. Berwick] verray scharplie
1596 Dalr. II 255/6.
Huntlie … invadet thame with bardet horse sa sharplie … that [etc.]
Ib. I 91/14.
c1650 Spalding I 82.
The people … perseuit him so scharplie that hardlie he escaipit out of there handis on slayne

b. Quickly, swiftly; promptly. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 990.
The tothir … Scheddit his schire wedis scharply away
1531 Bell. Boece I 210.
The maister of huntis … followit it [sc. the dog] sa scharply that he fand the samin
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1331.
Than four jewellours … In deip presoun richt schairplie him inclusit
1567 Sat. P. iii 81.
Unles ȝe now sharplie shuit out ȝour handis, And trewlie try the gyltie [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I 225/4.
We pray ȝow to ansuer scherplie to ȝour sowmondis and mak ws no hinder
1596 Dalr. I 147/25.
Quhen this feild with felicitie was endet, another scharpelie sittis til his schouldiris, mair perrilous

3. With verbs of speaking, accusing, rebuking, threatening, etc., also of writing (a letter): In harsh, angry or vehement terms; forthrightly; without mincing one's words.(a) c1420 Wynt. vii 891.
He … argwyd hym rycht scharply, That he furtheryd oure slawly His cwnnand [W. demandit him scharply Quhy he furtherit sa slawly His hecht]
1513 Doug. vii i 26.
At I may scharply say Quhat kynd proces of tyme was [etc.]
1525 Douglas Corr. 102.
Makand mencioune in the samyn writingis that the kingis grace has writtin scharplie unto hir
1535 Stewart 31303.
With drawin swordis … Tha boistit him scharplie
c1535 Lennox Mun. 348.
I thocht he wret our scharple to me
1580 Waus Corr. 230.
Ye mane writ scharple to the mastar [sc. of Glamis]
1596 Dalr. I 69/1.
I desyre nocht that ony … reprehend mair scharplie than perchance the cause requires
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 85.
[He] send to thé his awin wyif … scharplie bosting and thretning thé that [etc.]
1600-1610 Melvill 661.
He invyit scharpely againes him
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 2.
The schiref suld scharplie accuse him of sik ane deforcement done to the kings officiar
(b) 1533 Gau 94/30.
And accusis vs scherplie befor thé of our sine
a1578 Pitsc. I 44/6.
The earle reprovit his brother werie scherplie
1608 Crim. Trials II 542.(c) 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3714.
Than chargeit he them schairplie on pane of deid … Thay seuin suld seik remeid
1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi in 1563-72 Tracts 67.
The Lord … maist schairplie rebukis and conuictis tham of the horribill cryme of sacriledge
1584 Cal. Sc. P. VII 171.

4. a. With intelligence or perceptiveness; cleverly. c1450-2 Howlat 268 (A).
Mony allegiance leile, in leid nocht to layne it, Off Arestotill and ald men, scharplie [B. scharplye] thai schewe
1490 Irland Mir. III 148/12.
& men consider scharplie the proces of the gret empyr of Rome that is maid be eleccioun, thai may weill consider that it is gretlie wakyt
1596 Dalr. II 32/7.
Pedagogs, quhais ingine percet al sciences sa scharplie that [etc.]

b. Closely or observantly; attentively; with keen vision. c1475 Wall. iv 599.
The Sothron kest scharply at ilka side, And saw the wood was nothir lang no wide
1513 Doug. x viii 40.
Lyke as ane lyoun, from the hillys hycht, Amyd the valle had scharply gottin a sycht Of sum prowd bull
1560 Rolland Seven S. 436.
The childe walknit … , Baith to and fra schairplie casting his ene
1588 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis in Sc. N. & Q. I 37.
To thame that luikis meist scharplie to it [sc. an eclipse] sall gaddir perpetuell blindnes

5. Sternly, severely; with rigour.(1) 1533 Gau 97/21.
Be to vs marciful … and count notht scherplie vith vs
1545 Reg. Privy C. I 19.
It is hevilie menit be the said sheriffis … that thai ar scharplie putt at
1546 Ib. 26.
That tha salbe callit to particular diettis and scharplie punist thairfor
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. 41/25.
For quhilk God hes thame pwneisit rycht scharplie
1596 Dalr. I 270/21.
Patto … scharplie corrected thair vyces
(2) 1574 Glasgow B. Rec. I 25.
That the deikin of the craft visie the breid and exerce this statute scherplie
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 86/2.
Putt shairpelie to execution my lawis maid aganis … tratrouse pistolettis

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"Sharply adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Feb 2024 <>



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