BONAILIE n farewell, a parting toast
This is the way to go. A bonailie is a very cheery parting. It is derived from French â€˜bon' meaning good and â€˜aller' to go, although the Older Scots variant â€˜bonvale' is clearly influenced by â€˜vale', the Latin farewell. We find this variant in Peebles Burgh Records (1645), used in the accounts for a liquid leaving-do: â€œFor ane quart of sack drunk be the baillies ... at Mr John Hay['s] ... bonvale boun for Newcastellâ€. A grander valediction is described in Memoirs of the Maxwells of Pollock (1634): â€œQuhen nobill cummis heir [to the Castle of Dunbarton] to vissit the same, thay get sum schot of the grit ordinance to thair bonevaleâ€. According to the Diarey of Robert Birrell, the departure of James McOneill, who visited Edinburgh in 1597, also went with a bang: â€œThe 7 day of Maii he went home ward, and for honour of his bonyalla, the cannons shott out of the castell of Edinburgheâ€. Later bonalies seem quieter. The travellers partake of a modest deochandorus in Ivory Burnett's The Ravens Enter the House (1931): â€œThe men went off next morning. Catherine brought out their bonailie with her own hands, the three glasses on a silver ashetâ€. There is a convenient rhyme in Walter Scott's poem of 1815: â€œOn the brave vessel's gunnel I drank his bonail, And farewell to Mackenzie, High Chief of Kintail!â€ A hint of wistfulness clouds this question in Selections from the Writings of William Forsyth (1882): â€œ An' whare awa's the auld dear een, That oor bonalie blinkit in At the merket cross o' Aberdeenâ€. However, the dictionary quotations overwhelmingly show the positive approach to moving on, typified in John MacTaggart's The Scottish Gallovidian Encyclopedia (1824): â€œKirrcormock's blyth lairdie, or he gaed awa ... Invited his neebours about ane and a' To gi'e him a merry bonelloâ€.
Scots Word of the Week is written by Chris Robinson of Scottish Language Dictionaries