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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEEVE, v. Also leve (Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 103); leave (Lnk. 1700 Session Rec. Carstairs MS. (18 Aug.); Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.; Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail liv.); leive (Rxb. 1874 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. Soc. 211; wm.Sc. 1928 J. Corrie Last Day 61); lieve (Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 71; Lnl. 1908 J. White Pen Sk. 11). Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. live (Ayr. 1786 Burns Tam Samson's Elegy xvii.; Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v., Ags. 1872 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. vi., Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 18). [li:v, obsol. in ne. and em.Sc. (a)]

Sc. form of Eng. live.Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 52:
But we divna want tae think on war;
we haena got wan on ee noo.
We're leevin weel an sweir tae feel
aucht o the blast that ruint you.
Fif. 1998 Tom Hubbard Isolde's Luve-Daith 5:
Throu the lang years I tholed your bannisment,
An my luve grew aa the mair;
Throu the lang years they telt me nocht o you,
Leevin or deid.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 1:
Here lie the bones o a lonely Scot.
(He loved his country did he not?).
Aa this cringin had left him seethin,
noo, he's deid - an they're still leevin.

Hence 1. leever, liver, survivor; 2. ppl.adj., vbl.n. leevin, living, a living: (1) a living soul, a person, anyone (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Gall. 1960); (2) food, fare (Ags., Ayr., Gall. 1960). Also living-kind (Uls. 1960); (3) a holding of land, a farm or estate; (4) comb. livin-like, lively, in good health (Cai., Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Gall. 1960). See also Life, 1. 3. Phrs.: (1) ill or weel to live, in poor or comfortable circumstances, (un)prosperous. See Ill, I. 10.; also jocularly weel to live = in a state of alcoholic well-being, tipsy; (2) to live aff, = Eng. to live on. Gen.Sc.1. Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 232:
I'm no surprised she wasna a lang leever.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 153:
A's left to the langest leever.
2. (1) Ags. 1820 Montrose Chron. (29 Sept.):
Nae livin' could think o', nae language could tell!
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1874 ) 430:
Did ever ony leevin' hear the like o' that!
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
“Oh, Meggy,” says she, … “dinna mention't to nae leevin'.”
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 223:
It wasna lang till I heard a queer story, though I never moothed it to a leevin'.
(2) Dmf. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 163:
Blessed living kind has nae passed atween this lad's lips for hours mae than I shall count.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie xii.:
I was very weel pleased wi' their tidy wee dishes, and likit their leevin.
(3) Sc. 1813 Scott Rokeby i. xxi.:
Thy kinsman's lands and livings fair.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 220:
There's lordly seats an' livin's braw Amang the braes o' Gallowa'.
(4) Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Sketches 236:
Hoo are ye Rab, my honest frien'? Ye're livin' like, I see.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 106:
Baith livin' an' livin'-like.
3. (1) Edb. 1827 M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 274:
He had got baith his meat and his drink besides; for, as we sailor fouks say, he had ta'en his beer on board, for he was weel to leive.
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) vi.:
George was what is called “a bein bachelor,” or “a chap that was gayan weel to leeve.”
Dmf. 1836 Carlyle in Atlantic Monthly (1898) 295:
The Doctor looks very well and sonsy; he seems in good health and well to live.
Bnff. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIII. 295:
The land is not rack-rented, and the cultivators of the soil are in general what is called well to live.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
Dawvid, though he was weel to live, was richt gweed company.
(2) Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 19:
I'm tired of College and I'm not going to live off you … Especially as you haven't much to live off.

[O.Sc. leyff, from 1375. The long vowel is due to the regular northern development of orig. i to in an open syllable from O. North. lifian.]

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"Leeve v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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