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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

LILLIE, adj. Also lil(l)y. Lovely, beautiful. Liter., esp. in ballads. Comb. lilly-low, in nursery parlance: a bright light or flame, “a bonnie wee low” (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Also in n.Eng. dial. See Lowe.Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs I. 155:
O yield thee to yon braken bush, That grows upon yon lilly lie.
Sc. 1800 Thomas Rymer in Child Ballads No. 37 A. xiii.:
And see not ye that braid braid road That lies across yon lillie leven?
Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 39:
A lady thro' plain fields was bound, A lily leesome thing.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 15:
An' lilly boats gaed snoovin' by, Like cluds athort the simmer sky.

[Reduced form of obs. Eng. liefly, O.E. lēoflic, lovable, lovely, deriv. of Lief. Lilly-low may however be simply a child's reduplic. variant of Lowe.]

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"Lillie adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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