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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

Portabill, -able, adj. Also: poirt-. [ME and e.m.E. portable (c 1400) easily carried, endurable, navigable, F. portable, late L. portabilis that may be carried, f. portāre to bear.]

1. Only Sc.: That is, or has, to be borne.Only in the phr. portabill charges (burdin(s), a payment or service that is to be, or must be, rendered by every person or corporation liable thereto.(1) 1489 Edinb. B. Rec. I 57.
The outlandis folkis … hafand nother stob nor stake within this towne … nor yit beris sic portable chargis with tham as extentis and vtheris quhen thai occur
1518 (c 1580) Ib. 178.
Becaus the said strayngeris and vnfremen [nother] stentis waikis nor wairdis nor beris na vther portabill chairges within this burgh
1517 (c 1580) Ib. 172. 1552 Conv. Burghs I 3.
Certane personis quhilkis hes been … ressauit fremen and burgessis of borrowis and duellis outwith the samin and beris na portabill chargis within the burch … quhen thai haif ado
1563 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 204 b. 1563 Pittenweem Ann. 5. c 1569 Edinb. Hammermen I 2.
I … sall skatt lott walk and waird and beir all maner portabill chargeis with my brethren
1583 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 181. 1583 Conv. Burghs I 165.
The tovne of Bruntiland … to be enrollet with the remanentt frie burrowis of this realme and to beir with theme all maner of portabill chargis requisit
1588–9 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XV 21.
That William Jhonnstoun, Inglisman, … occupeit the fredome of this said craft … and nowther will stent nor beir portabill chairges with thame
c 1589 Crail Cordiners Ct. Bk. MS (Reg. H.).
[I] sall … beir all maner portable chargis with my brether conforme to my habilitie
1589–90 Reg. Privy C. IV 452.
The saidis lordis … hes exemit … him and thame fra all watcheing, warding, payment of taxt, stent or contributioun or beiring or sustening of ony uther portable chargeis within quhatsumevir parte [etc.]
1623 Conv. Burghs III 139.
Nane … to haive voit in thair electioun bot such as ar … actuall residents within thair burgh, beiring all portabill chairges thairin
1665 Rothesay B. Rec. 109. 1672 Aberd. Council Lett. V 117.(2) 1656 Edinb. B. Rec. IX 32.
And the usurpatioun of English bowtchers quho ar not onlie frie of portable burden but [etc.]
1664 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. MS 13 June.
Inrespect he is ane actuall burges within this burghe and payes all portable burdings within the same
1689 Stirling B. Rec. II 58.
He is ane burges of the burgh and hes borne portable burding with the remanent burgesses

2. a. Of boats: Capable of carrying freight. 1612 Conv. Burghs II 366.
That the said toun of Campheir … sall be bund … to mak the skowt flott portabill to that effect

b. Navigable. = Portative adj. 2. 1636 Glasgow Chart. II App. 592.
In making of the river of Clyde … poirtable for schippis, bottis [etc.]

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"Portabill adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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