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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WILL, n.1 Also wull. Sc. form and usages. freq. in pl. [wɪl; wʌl. See P.L.D. § 76.1.]

1. As in Eng., wish, power of choice, etc. Sc. phrs.: (1) at a(a) will, to the fullest extent of one's desire, as much as one could wish for (Sh., Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1974); often ironically, in all conscience; (2) at one's ain wull, of one's own free will, as one wishes (Cai., m.Sc. 1974); (3) o' will, spontaneously, of one's own accord; (4) to come in (someone's) will, to submit oneself to another's wishes or decision, to put oneself at the disposal of another, to surrender at discretion; (5) to get one's will(s) o', to get one's way or do what one likes with, to have at one's disposal or mercy (Ork., Cai., Ags., Per. 1974); (6) to hae one's will(s) o', (Ork., Ags., Per. 1974) id.: (7) to hae will o', -til, -to, or with noun clause, to have a liking for, to wish for or to, find pleasure in; now more freq. in neg. sentences: not to wish or approve, to hope not (Abd. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1974); (8) to one's will, as one pleases; (9) to put in one's will, to leave to another's discretion; (10) to submit oneself in will of, = (4); (11) to take one's will (o'), = (5), to take as much as one wants (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai., Ags., Fif., em.Sc. (b), wm., sm.Sc. 1974); (12) wi a' will, = (1) (Ags. 1974); (13) wi one's will, with one's consent or approval, as one would wish (I., n.Sc. 1974); (15) will and wale, see Wale, n.1, 1.(1) Sc. 1825 Jam.:
I'm sure ye've gotten claith to make that coat wi' at a' will.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xv.:
The worm o' remorse gnawin' at my heart, an', my certie, its teeth were sharp eneugh at a' will!
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Glendornie xiii.:
“I've been beginnin' t' think 'at he's been lang aneuch here.” “Aye, lang aneuch at a wull.”
Bnff.2 1929:
Ye wis crying for frost; I think ye've gotten't at a' wull.
(2) Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken xxvi.:
Ye gaed awa at yer ain wull.
Per. 1906 R. S. Fittis Mosstrooper iv.:
I stravaig the country at my ain will.
(3) Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Thus it is used in the Sc. Proverb; “It's a gude wall [well] that springs o' will.”
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlv.:
I'm nae here o' wull, I'se asseer ye; but to cairry oot Sir Simon's doon-laid orders.
(4) Ayr. 1703 Session Bk. Dundonald (1936) 536:
She would rather come in the Sessions will for quhat censure they would putt on her.
Wgt. 1723 Session Bk. Wgt. (7 Feb.):
Being expostulated with, offered to come in will.
Rxb. 1748 J. Byers Liddesdale (1952) 48:
This day Mr Watson in Leeds and me bargained for the Brodly wool, he came in my will for 6/- the stone.
Dmb. 1785 Session Papers, Petition J. Colquhoun (21 June) Proof 7:
His lambs had strayed, and were found in James M'Indoe's a neighbour's corn, and she had to come in his will for the damage.
Sc. 1810 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) II. 401:
But on this point I come as they say in your will.
(5) Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 107:
Afore we disagree, You'll halflins get your will o' me.
Sc. 1827 G. Kinloch Ballads 15:
He had got his wills o' her.
Abd. 1930:
Gin I'd gotten ma wulls o' him, I wida tant's hide tull him for eence!
(6) m.Sc. 1827 A. Rodger Peter Cornclips 157:
Had I but my will o't, I'd soon let you see.
Fif. 1857 W. Blair Rambling Recoll. 32:
I mind when every man in Falkland had his wull o' the hill, and could graze a cow an' a sheep if he lik'it.
Per. 1912 Rymour Club Misc. II. 29:
Ye say ye'll ha'e your wills o' me.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 19:
Gin aul lucky hid her wulls o's, we'd be as bare as the laads at Teuchatslap.
(7) Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 8:
The maiden blushed, and bing'd fu' la', She had na will to say him na.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 144:
Whene'er he dauts, may Lilly smile, And baith alike ha'e will o't.
Sc. 1818 Scott O. Mortality xxxvii.:
To gar folk fight that had unco little will till't.
Dmf. 1821 Carlyle Early Letters (Norton 1886) II. 15:
As to the latter, I have nae wull o't.
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd viii.:
I hinna wull that he mak's a fule o' himsel' wi' her.
ne.Sc. 1905 Greig and Keith Last Leaves (1925) 231:
I dreamt a dream, it's sin' the streen, I hinna will it be true.
Abd. 1969 Huntly Express (27 June):
I hinna will that the mannie's ower fou.
(8) Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm ix.:
“Be 't to yer wull, men,” said Malcolm resignedly.
(9) Rxb. 1750 J. Byers Liddesdale (1952) 49:
Hyred Will Nickle to caw the plewgh from Martinmas to Whitsunday for a pair of shoes — 2s that he put in my will, and I offered him one of them if he was a good servant. The wage 13s.
Bte. 1765 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 881:
They resolve to give him a gratuity often pounds sterling, or at least to put that sum in his own will that he may take so much of it as he thinks proper.
(10) Dmf. 1769 Nithsdale Baron Ct. Bk. MS. 102:
[He] submits himself therefore in will of the Complainer.
(11) Abd. 1748 R. Forbes Ajax 9:
Lat him than now tak will an' wile.
Abd. 1882 G. MacDonald Castle Warlock vi.:
He jist loot the maister tak his wull o' 'im!
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 160:
Tak' 'er wull o' what e' see o't.
Per. 1912 Rymour Club Misc. II. 29:
Your wills o' me ye've ta'en!
(12) Abd.5 1931:
Ye've teen yer time, man, wi' a' wull, comin' hame here at the riggin o' the nicht.
(13) Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf vii.:
I'm wae ye suld hae cause to say sae; I'm sure it wasna wi' my will.
Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups 99:
Ye'll never set anither fit in't wi' my wull.
e.Lth. c.1912 J. P. Reid Skipper's Daughters xxix.:
“What were ye thinkin' about to be lettin' the stupid broth av a bhoy take to the sodgers?” “It wasna wi' my will; I'd naething to do wi't.”

2. A request, command (Sc. 1882 Jam.), also in pl. Obs. exc. dial. in Eng.Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 281:
Five hundred pounds o' pennies round Her tocher then shall be, Because she did my wills obey .

Phrs.: (1) Sc. Law: the will of theletters, — summons, the part of a writ of citation summoning the defendant in an action to appear in court, formerly worded to express the will of the Sovereign in the matter. Now abolished; (2) what's your will?, the usual formula in the 18th and early 19th cs. in Scot. for a servant in answering a summons, or for a shopkeeper to a customer, also in a request for one to repeat what he has said to someone who has not heard it distinctly. = Eng. “pardon?” (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 31, 1808 Jam.; Inv. 1905 E.D.D.). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.(1) Sc. 1722 W. Forbes Institutes I. iv. 140:
That which is commanded to be done, (called the Will of the Summons) is to cite the Defender to compear before the Lords of Session.
Sc. 1743 Kames Decisions (1766) 67:
It was necessary for the suspender to follow out the will of the letters.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute iv. i. § 7:
All summonses, besides the libel, contain. first, An ordinance of the sovereign, or of the judge, in whose name the summonses issue, called the will of the summons.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 1052:
The will is that part of the writ beginning, “Our will is,” &c.
Sc. 1911 D. Balfour Ct. of Session Practice 23:
The will of a summons is in the form of a charge to messengers-at-arms.
Sc. 1949 Encycl. Laws Scot. Suppl. I. 140:
The “will” is no longer in use, the modern form of summons ending thus: “This Summons is warrant for,” etc.
(2) Per. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) I. 150:
This brought in a servant maid, who, as usual, cried out, “What's your wull?”
Sc. 1761 Magopico 9:
The men-servants by taking off their bonnets, and laying them in the hollow of the hinder part of the neck, all the while scratching the head, and saying, Raivrent Sir, and What's your wull?
s.Sc. 1784 G. Caw Museum 194:
Weel may ye be, my feiries five; And aye, what is your wills wi' me?
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxxvii.:
The child opened her round blue eyes with the wondering, “What's your wull?” which is usually a peasant's first answer, if it can be called one, to all questions whatever.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of the Lairds i.:
You make a noise, which causes the door to open, when either one of the lasses looks from behind it, and says, “What's your wull and pleasure?”
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket iii.:
Not to say fat when I did not hear, but. what's yer wull.
Sc. 1894 Stevenson St Ives vii.:
“What's your wull, miss” said he.
Kcb. 1909 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxv.:
“If madam will deign to signify madam's orders, they shall be carried out!” This . . . would have made the lower jaws of the McClintock lassies drop . . . “Weel, mem, and what's yer wull!” being the amount of “mainners” that could be expected of them.

3. Wilfulness, arrogance. Obs. in Eng. in early 17th c. Deriv. adjs. willy, willed, wilful, headstrong, obstinate; wilfu, obstinately determined. Obs. in Eng.Sc. 1700 Sc. Pasquils (Maidment 1868) 358:
Some weighed so with will, they neither dow, Nor able are, to bear it up the bow.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxix.:
He's wilfu' to gang up the hills and speak wi' Rob.
Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St Kathleen III. vi.:
Ye was aye a willy chield, and ane micht as weel speak to the wind, whan ye tak' oney maggot.
s.Sc. 1826 Scots Mag. (March) 229:
A kind o' “lazy, willed callant”, as she expressed it, and “wadna do her biddin' ava.”
Lnk. 1856 Deil's Hallowe'en 47:
The will'd perverter o' the truth.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 234:
Tho' stiff and willy, weel I ken That peace at hame . . . E'en lichtens a'.
Kcd. 1889 J. & W. Clark Leisure Musings 19:
He'll prove, I'm feared, a willie wag.

[O.Sc. to put, 1420, to cum in one's will, 1473, what war your will, a.1510, to have na will of, 1624.]

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"Will n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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