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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lovabil(l, †Louabil(l, Lowabill, a. Also: lovabyll, -abell, lov(e)able; †louable, -abyll; lowabile, -abbill, -able; Luvabill [Partly or wholly f. Love v. : cf. Lofabill.ME. and e.m.E. had lowable (1393–1545) permissible, desirable, commendable, F. louable (F. louer to praise; see note to Love v.) and cf. M.E. and e.m.E. allowable id., F. allouable. Possibly mere variants of this were ME. louabil (Rolle), louable (Wyclif, Destr. Troy), loueable (c 1400), but some or all of these might also represent a type lov- (f. Love v.), like the Sc. word.That many of the Sc. occurrences represent the latter type there is no doubt: note the variant Lofabill, and the fact that the predominant early spelling practice of manuscript texts appears to favour lov- or low-, whereas the spelling louabill, able etc., is common only in the early printed texts (as also with lou- Love v., louing Loving vbl. n.). Nevertheless, it is impossible to be certain that a type [lū-] f. F. louable, which could equally be represented by the spellings in louand low-, did not also exist.An additional uncertainty in deciding this matter lies in the possibility that in some of the occurrences of this word in modern editions the spellings found may be editorial rather than strictly as in the originals. Thus lov- may on occasion have been printed for original lou- or even low-, since many editors, espec. of texts regarded as primarily of ‘historical’ rather than ‘philological’ interest (among them David Laing, see Knox xliii n. 1, and J. H. Burton, see Reg. Privy C. I. l-lii) sporadically or consistently practise normalizations of this type.] Praiseworthy.

1. Of persons and their actions or attributes: Worthy of praise or approval: Praiseworthy, laudable, commendable, honourable; also, satisfactory, acceptable.(a) 1450 Peebles B. Rec. I. 15.
That God len hym gras … to govern swa that it be lovabil til God
1456 Hay I. 87/2.
Fer better and mare lovable is tobe dede fechtand na fleand
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 437 (Asl.).
This lovable [Harl. louabill] luf sall lak ws laureate
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 175/23 (Asl.).
It ware fer better & mair loveable ony man to suffre without dreid the terrible pane of martirdom or covatis suld ourcum his hie honour
1513 Doug. ii. x. 44.
Set it be nocht lovabill nor semly thocht To punys a woman, bot schameful hir to sla
Ib. viii. v. 22.
The lovabill gestis of mychty Hercules
Ib. x. v. 169. 1518 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 96.
[To] Schir Johnn Cumming, singar of thair quayr, … for his gud and lovable service to be done yeirly
1588 Pittenweem Ann. 13.
To do some worthy thing and of loveable account for the furtherance … of sa notable and godlie ane wark
(b) 1490 Irland Mir. fol. 200.
The werkis … of the man that … procedis of his mynd … ar outhir honorable and louable or tobe blamyt and repreuit
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 13 (Ch. & M.). a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 940 (Harl.).
Ask at God thin hard hert to resolue In teris of louable lamentacioun
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. Prol. 80 (Davidson).
Byrdis … thé [May] to pryse and Nature neuer restis Confessand ȝou maist potent and louabyll
1549 Compl. 144/31.
At that tyme … the pepil lyuit al to gydthir in ane tranquil & louabil communite
1551 Hamilton Cat. 249. 1562-3 Winȝet II. 51/25.
Be his errour following … fra his louable and approuable wrytingis he plukit away the auctoritie
Ib. 74/6.
Of quhome euery ane … perseuerand in the vnitie of communioun and fayth become tryit and louable maisteris
1581 Burne Disput. 131.
As is manifest … of the louabil memorie of thair names
(c) c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 331.
Bettir is the end of the vresone na the begyning, and mar is lowabile to God with a mek man na a pridfull
a1538 Abell 32 b.
Than it wes lowable to desire a bischeprik
Ib. 86 b.
The werk of a bischep … quhilk is to the wtilite of thare subditis … that is lowabill and maritable

2. Of laws or ordinances, or of custom and usage: Worthy of respect, approbation or sanction; laudable, commendable, acceptable. b. Passing into: Respected, time-honoured, established.(1) 1475 Reg. Great S. MS. XXII. No. 62 (= Edinb. B. Rec. (ed.) I. 31).
Thair [the wrights'] statutis and reullis befor ws red, … we [Edinburgh town council] … fand that thai war gud and loveable baith to God and man and consonand to ressoun
1475–6 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 34.
1505 Edinb. Council Reg. MS. I. fol. 50 (= Edinb. B. Rec. (ed.) I. 102).
Reulis statutis and previlegis … quhilkis ar … proffeitt and lowabill to this gude tovne
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 75.
Be the foirsaid ordinance of the lordis of sessioun and utheris lovable lawes and actis of Parliament
1574 Ib. 410. 1584 Conv. Burghs I. 196.
Amerciatt for purchessing lordschip contrair the lovabill actis and constitutionis of burrowis maid thairanentt
1595–6 Crim. Trials I. ii. 355.
[In terms of] ane louable practique past in the lyke caise
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. MS. 50.
Thair hes beine dyuers and sindrie lowable actis lawis and conswetutionis maid … for mantening of the commoun veile
1610 Crim. Trials III. 103.
1623 Orkney Sheriff Ct. in Misc. Maitl. C. II. 196.
1638 Nat. Covenant in Rec. Kirk Scotl. 12.
Kings and princes shall rule the people according to the lowable lawes and constitutions received in this realme
? 1662 Postscript for Lysimachus Nicanor 8.
To maintaine the lowable and good laws made by their predecessors
(2) 1498 Acta Conc. MS. II. 83 a (= Acta Conc. (ed.) II. 272).
Sen it is ane beneficiale mater and is conformyt to justice and equite and rycht lovable vse haldin and vsit that in all beneficiale materis [etc.]
1501–2 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 70. 1502–3 Ib. in Mill Mediæv. Plays 118.
Eftir the auld honorable & lovabill consuetude of the burghe
1542 Annandale Corr. 2. 1560 Cal. Sc. P. I. 382. 1562 Peebles B. Rec. I. 280. 1562 Prot. Bk. J. Robeson MS. 179.
That the said Johne … have his esing drope fre conforme to the vse & lovable custume of burrowis
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 16. 1575 Glasg. Chart. I. ii. 165.
By [= contrary to] all lovable consuetude
1575 Edinb. Council Reg. MS. V. fol. 53 (= Edinb. B. Rec. (ed.) IV. 42).
It hes bene ane ancient and lovable custome to mak the Prince … foresene in the electioun of the publict officiarris thairof
1579 Milne Home MSS. 50.
Lett it rest quhill it may be decidit ather be the writtin law or the meting of commissioners or quhill the lovable custum be verifiit be the maist skilfull borderers of baith the realmes
1610 Bk. O. Edinb. C. XIV. 41.
In executioun of … oure … previledges according to oure lovabell use quhairof we … hes bene in possessioun in all tyme bigane past
1615 Stirling B. Rec. I. 138.
In consideratioun of the great … detriment that micht aryse upoun the alteratioun and change of ony lovabill auld governament that hes bene in ony burgh
(b) 1496 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 59.
For vphaldin of the auld louable consuetud, honour, consolacioun, and plesour of this burghe
1558–9 Statut. Sc. Ch. 160.
That na manner of persons … attempt ony thing … for deforming or innovating the louable ceremonies and rites tharof usit in Haly Kirk
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 88/11.
Aye as thaye [heritable sheriffdoms] uaike … dispone thame neuer heritablie againe, preassing uith tyme to drau it to the louable ordoure of Englande
(c) 1398 Acts I. 211/1.
The rycht of the Kirke … the lawys and the lowablez custumes to gerr be kepit to the pupil
1522 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 105.
Efter … the auld lowable ws of this burch
1571 Bk. Carlaverock II. 481.
Thatt the lowabbill vs and costom of our forbears be obserwitt and kepitt amang ws
1608 Echt-Forbes Chart. 130.
That they sall fishe the said … watter … conforme to the lowabill custome and according to auld use and wount

3. In medicine, of a remedy or a disposition: Commendable; hence, beneficial. 1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 19.
[As a measure against infection] fyre made of fir or akin tymmer ar maist lowable
Ib. 25.
Twichand meittis, flesche is maist proper quhilk generis louable humoris & is of facill digestioun, sic as pertrik, phasiane [etc.]

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"Lovabil adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Apr 2024 <>



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