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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Bable, Babill, n. Also: babil(e, babal. [ME. babyll, babulle (14th c.), OF. babel, baubel, child's toy, play-thing, gewgaw.]

1. A fool's bauble. Also comb. babill-berar.(1) a1500 Prestis Peblis 503.
He tuke his club and ane bable in his hand
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 36.
Scorne wes bourdour in the hall, And oft on me his babill schuke
Id. lix. 23.
Gar deliver him ane babile
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 80.
As a fule vill not gif his bable for the toure of Lon (as the prouerb is)
(2) 1540 Lynd. Sat. 2607 (B).
This babill beraris [Ch. babil beirers] and thir bairdis

2. A trifle; a trifling thing or person. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 78/25.
Ane gesting-stok, ane fable or bable to lach at
1570 Sat. P. xxiv. 27.
Thow, vaine bable, bouistrit vp in pryde
1615 Lett. & St. P. Jas. VI 257.
Debosched drunkin babillis

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"Bable n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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