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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
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Pesabill, Peceabill, Peciabil(l, a. (and adv.). Also: pese-, pess-, peiss-, pec-, peic(e)-, peac(e)-, peec-, pesi-, peici-, peaci-, peacye- and -abil(l)e, -abyll, -abl(e, -abel; pessaple, pecieble. [ME. and e.m.E. pesable (c 1330), e.m.E. peaceable (1535), peaxable (16th c.), var. of Paisibill, Pesibill, with altered suffix. Cf. also Paisable.]

1. Unmolested, undisturbed; passing into: unchallenged, as by litigation. a. Of the fact of possessing or occupying a property, office or the like.Chiefly attributively.For further examples, see Brouking vbl. n., Bruking vbl. n., Joising vbl. n., Possessioun n.(a) 1456 Hay I. 261/34.
Gif a man had tane possession of ony gude … and bene in pesable possessioun xxx ȝeris and efter that a man wald say that [etc.]
1470 Douglas Chart. 99.
In the brouking and pesable joising of the landis of Kymbirgeame
predic. 14.. Quon. Attach. c. 39.
It sal duel stil pessabil anent him that tharof is infeffyt
(b) 1507 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 140.
That he … sall caus the said lady to be redily ansuerit in the peicable bruikeing of all landis [etc.]
1617 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 234.
He being in peicabill possessione thairoff
(c) 1573 Douglas Bequest 9 Nov.
(d) a 1380 5th Rep. Hist. MSS. Var. Coll. 77.
That he that is yer and day in peseabyll possession in any lande
(e) 1488 Reg. Paisley 274.
In the peceabill broiking and jousing of the said burgh
1499–1500 Acta Conc. II. 355.
Quhat tyme he beis benefytt of peceable benefice of xxti li. peceabley
1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 157.
In the peceable josing … of his office of tutory
1669 Rothesay B. Rec. 174.
(f) 1489 Prot. Bk. J. Young (S.R.S.) II. 58.
1512 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 18.
1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 191.
c1575 Balfour Pract. 496.
1620 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 186.
The said inhabitantis of Turreff hes never bene in peciable possessioun of using of ony kynd of merchandice
(g) 1530 Rec. Earld. Orkney 212.
In the peaciabill bruiking manuring [etc.] … of the foirsaidis four d. terre … fre fra all molestatioun inquietatioun and persecussioun of ony personis

b. Of the person possessing or occupying the property etc.Also predicatively. Appar. only in early texts. c1420 Wynt. ix. 3287.
Off Legis the elect wes bidand ay Pesabyll [v.r. pessabyll] in his possessioune
1436 Coll. Aberd. & B. 394.
Pesabil and lauchful possessour of thaim [lands]
1443 Highland P. II. 178.
Quhil bathe the partyis be made sikir and pesabill
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 1050.
And he war peciabill lord of all his land Of gude men he mycht rais in his cuntre Ten thousand fechtaris out of a citie And of his realm and he haid peciabill Ane hundreth thousand worthie men and habill
1481 Peebles B. Rec. I. 189.
Aye and qwhyll the werray possesour of the archideynry be peissabyll in his possession but pley or aduersite

2. Of persons: Peaceful in character or behaviour; peace-loving; law-abiding.Attrib., predic. and absol.Also of the behaviour of persons.(1) 14.. Acts I. 348/2.
To sla lele peceable and rychtwis lifand men
1456 Hay II. 27/32.
Till derub … the pore folk and all sik peceable personis
1628 Pastor and Prelate 31.
Canie wise and peaceable men
1687 Hector Renfrewshire Rec. I. 47.
Fallers vpon any of his ma[jes]ties peacable and frie leidges
(b) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. v. 9.
Blessit be peciabile men
c1575 Balfour Pract. 513.
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. 17.
1615 Denmylne MSS. in Highland P. III. 230.
We who ar peciabill and lawfull subiectis
c1650 Spalding II. 101.
This wes not weill thocht of nather be honest peciable men
(2) c1420 Wynt. ix. 1131.
This kyng wes … Pessabill [C. pessabil, E.2 peceabill] and till his servans Luwand
(b) 1456 Hay II. 102/32.
That thou be peceable and sparing of mannis blude
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 138.
Give my Lord Eroll haid bene peceable
(c) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 56/26.
For jt that makis maist a man peciabile js paciens
1533 Boece i. iii. 37.
Scottis suld neuer in Ireland be peciabill
1533 Bell. Livy I. 236/28.
The consullis … made the small pepil mare peciabil than afore
c1615 Chron. Kings 12.
Metellanus … wes ane prince werrie peciable gratious and debonare
1622-6 Bisset II. 247/16.
(3) absol. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 419.
That euir he … help all pure and peciabill at neid
(4) 1669 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 293.
That he find cautione for his peicable cariadg hereft

b. Of a horse: Peaceful, quiet. — 1681 Red Bk. Menteith II. 196.
Also the lene of a peacable horse

3. Of an action, a state of affairs, a period or era: Characterised by the absence of strife or violence; peaceful, quiet, unaggressive, temperate.(1) 1494 Loutfut MS. 33 a.
[The sturgeon] has a hoill wndir his gorge that he oppinnis quhen thair cummis peiceable aire
1533 Bell. Livy I. 153/29.
Throw this peceabill [v.r. petiable] departing of Porsena fra Rome
1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 149.
Merchantis nocht travalyng in the cuntreth as in pesable tyme
c 1580 Sc. Ant. XIII. 3.
For reulling of his subjects and pecabill keping of his liegis and pepill in quietness
c1650 Spalding I. 99.
Your discreit and peciable opposing them
(2) 1555 Conv. Burghs I. 12.
That all burrowis … concur togidder in ane peceabill and agreabill maner as becumis
1558-66 Knox II. 161. 1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 82.
Quhaire hir majestie wes in quiet and peceable maner
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 35.
And in mair pesiabill array at leist in schew thay convoyit hir to the castel
1587 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 36.
Unless he wald … repair thairin with sum of his principall frendeis in peaceabill maner
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 106.
1607 Melvill 713.
The same being keipit and holdin in sic ane peiceabil and quiet maner
1614 Inverness Rec. II. 121.
Being in quyet and peiciabill forme on hir maister affairis
1642 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 38.

4. Of a district or country: In a peaceful state, undisturbed by strife or violence. 1533 Boece iv. vii. 135 b.
That the ile mycht be mare peciable in tyme cuming
1605 Conv. Burghs II. 203.
Sua lang as the saidis lochis and iyleis ar nocht peciabill
1613 Denmylne MSS. in Highland P. III. 133.
For making of theire landis peacyeable
1614 Crim. Trials III. 290.
The rebellis … taikin … and all the countray maid pessabille

5. adv. = Pesabilly adv.(a) 1391 Floors Indenture 23 June.
The forsad Wauter has tan the forsaid Howisunys part of the landis of Cauerton for four ȝer pessabel
1423 (1429–30) Reg. Great S. 30/2.
To resaif and joise pessable for al the terme of his lif
1490 Foulis Chart. (Reg. H.) 4 Dec.
The saide lande to be haldyn … pessaple and in pess … to the saide Johnne
(b) 1456–70 Liber Aberbr. II. 108.
Quhilkis our predecessoris has iosyt … peceabile ii hundreth yeirys befor thir days
(c) 1656 Conv. Burghs III. 418.
That the saidis craftsmen behave themselves peaceabl
(d) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) (ed.) 1053 (see 1 b above).
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlviii. 112.
Lat no bowgle … The meik pluch ox oppres … Bot in the ȝok go peciable him besyd
1510 Rec. Earld. Orkney 86.
The said Jhone and hys bruther sone sal gang peciabile [v.r. pecabile] to the landis of Hurre
1565 Curle Coll. (Reg. H.).
Thatt the said Schir Thomas … sall bruik … the saidis hauch … peciable without ony trouble or plee movit
1582 Reg. Privy C. III. 516.
To contene thameselffis peciable … unattempting ony further motioun or trouble
1594 Warrender Illustr. Sc. Hist. 49.
Being peciable sattilit in ther awin estaitis
1602 Bk. Arran II. 102.
[He had hoped] to have levit peciable himselff

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"Pesabill adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2023 <>



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