Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LAIB, v., n. Also leb(b), †leab; lab(b); and freq. or dim. forms labbie, labach, labbich, llabbach (Gregor), lebbach, lybbich. Cf. also Lerb. [leb, lɑb]

I. v. 1. To lick up food or drink, to lap, peck or gobble up hastily (n.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. lape; Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 132; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102, lebb, labb; Per., Cld. 1880 Jam.; Abd., Ags., Uls. (lab) 1960); with at: to tipple with (liquor) (Gregor).   Ib.:
Lab up your parritch an' rin.
Abd. 1920  G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 45:
He . . . lebbit up the water, like a doggie, fae the burn.

2. To throw or scatter small quantities of a liquid or powdery substance, as meal, to scoop out, to ladle with the hands or with a dish (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102). Often with up or oot.

3. By extension, from the notion of moving the tongue quickly: (1) to babble, chatter, talk incessantly (Abd.7 1925, laibach). Cf. n., 2. (2); with aff: to recite (Gregor); to speak unintelligibly or incoherently. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 106:
The sailors began to llabach Dutch. He llabbacht aboot that thing for a lang time.
Abd. 1887  Bon-Accord (16 April) 20:
She laibached on, an' scaul't at the rate o' nae allowance, till I cudna stan't langer.

(2) To flap loosely; to unwind or unroll (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 106). Abd. 1928 15 :
Fat are ye deein dyaun wi your pints lebbachin lowse?

II. n. 1. The quantity of food or drink taken into the mouth by one motion of the tongue in lapping, a mouthful, esp. of liquor (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102, leb(b), labb, llabbach; Abd. 1923 H. Beaton Benachie 218, labbich; Bnff.16 (lebb), Abd.15 (lebbach) 1930; Mry., Abd., Lth. 1960, lab), a peck or dab in eating hurriedly (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 132). Also fig. in washing the face: a lick, swill, splash; also of waves: a lapping sound (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 307).   Ib. 464:
Johnnie Dowie's cabin Where aft dear Scotia's bard got lab in.
Mry. 1828  J. Ruddiman Tales 136:
A lab o' the lasses' new made whey.
Abd. 1886  Folk-Lore Jnl. IV. 149:
Ca the doggies t' the mill, They took a lick oot o' the happer, An a laib oot o' the dam, An they went hame loupie for spang.
ne.Sc. 1921  Swatches o' Hamespun 11:
Pussy aye comes doon for a labbie oot o' the caur's cog.
Abd. 1929 4 :
I aye gie my face three laibs fan I wash't.

2. By extension, from the motion of the tongue: (1) something loose and flapping or in the act of unrolling itself, a long trailing piece of cloth, twine, yarn, etc. (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 106); an untidy, ill-fitting piece of apparel, slipper or the like (Ib.; Abd.7 1926, Abd. 1960). Bnff. 1930 2 :
She had aye a lebbach o braid or something trailin at her tail.

(2) A long, rambling or incoherent discourse, a rigmarole (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 106; Abd. 1919 T.S.D.C., lybbich, Abd. 1960). Cf. v. 3. Abd. 1927  E. S. Rae Hansel fae Hame 51:
A' a labach o' lees.

[Prob. a voiced variant of O.Sc. lape, to lap, from c.1420, O.E. lapian. The lab(b) forms correspond to Eng. lap which is irreg. for lape. There may be some confusion with Lab, and in some developments the word may be thought of as simply imitative.]

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"Laib v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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