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

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First published 1986 (DOST Vol. VI).

Possibil(l, -ible, -abill, adj.1 (adv.) Also: pos- and -ibille, -ibyl, -ybyl, -ibell; -abyll, -abell, -able; posscopyl. [ME and e.m.E. possibel (Rolle), -ible, -yble, F. possible (OF also posible, 13th c. in Godef. Compl.), L. possibilis that can or may be done, f. posse to be able.] Possible; that may be, that is capable of being, being done or happening.

A. adj.

1. predic. (To be) possible (to, also in, the agent).Also impers. const. noun clause compl. or (active or passive) infin. In later use also in (parenthetical) conditional clauses.(1) 1456 Hay II 91/12.
And it be evill he may sett syk remede as possible is till him
a1500 Quare Jel. 125.
In erde suld no thing be Possible to ony wicht of wele willing
1537 Douglas Corr. 352.
For no labor nor solyssyun that is posybyl to me
1552 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I App. xciii.
Greit skayth [etc.] … and all maner of oppressioun in thame possabill
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7257.
Quhat kinde of way is possibill to me, For to be in ȝone knichtis companie?
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xviii 1247.
God, that possible ware to me, That I mycht al tyme folow thé
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 44/9.
And gif it war possible that all thre war togidder [etc.]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxxiv 29.
War it possibill that in ony corce War Salamonis witt [etc.]
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 127/6.
Quhow is it possible that God and mane may be reallye contenit [etc.]
Ib. 137/29.(3) 1456 Hay I 122/31.
Gif thare be ony thing pertenand till his lord that may be possible to be done
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 117.
He knew his realme nocht possibill to be conquest
1560 Rolland Seven S. 10026. 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 57.
For that utherwise it was not possibill to be obtenit
Id. Indict. 40.
Howbeit na thingis ver left vndone that possible wer apperant to fyle the warld
(4) c1450-2 Howlat 930 (A).
Ȝit sall I preif ȝow to pleis, sen it is possible
1533 Gau 91/16.
That ve may turnne that to the best alsz far as possibil is to ws
1570 Misc. Bann. C. I 48*.
It is nocht possible to it for to induir ony lang tyme
1571 Bann. Memor. 106.
And to do that thing that was possible
(5) 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 280.
To thank hir … and gif possible wer to treate mariage betuix [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I 93/8.
Thinkand gif it might be possibill … to draw him fre his attempt
1588 Edinb. Presb. 17 Sept.
Being of mynd & vill gif possible ver, to hawe him fullie resoluit

2. attrib. Also b. all possibill, the greatest possible, the utmost, c., without all, in same sense, (appar. only Sc.).In pre- and post-positional use. 1456 Hay I 72/9 h. of ch.
Quhethir it be thing possible that this warld be in pes
Ib. 122/29.
That he sall nocht mak of possible thing inpossible
Ib. 75/24. a1500 Quare Jel. 132.
For thing possible, me thing, sche suld nocht pleyne
1566 Anderson Collect. Mary I 36.
And the nobilitie … will leif nathing possibille undone
b. (1) 1473 Reg. Cupar A. I 189.
He sal hafe our doukat, puttand it til all possibyl profit to the behufe of the abbay
1477 Ib. 209.
He sal put the mylland til al possibil polici
1479 Misc. Bann. C. III 431.
In all possible haist ȝe ma
1507 Oliphants 50.
I sall warn hem thar of be an meid person thar of all gudly posscopyl hast I can
1545 Corr. M. Lorraine 141.
c 1550 Balcarres P. 315.
Be ȝour graceis sarwand at all posabell power
1566 Facs. Nat. MSS. III lii.
1600 Crim. Trials II 186.
I … ran with all possibill diligence throw the streittis, crying [etc.]
1618 Sc. N. & Q. 1 Ser. I 102.
[To] cause lay on his grave ane lair staine … with all possibill diligence
(2) 1567 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 557.
In all diligence possibill
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 25.
Thay wald haif procurit be al maner possibill the Quene of Inglandis … support
1570 Leslie 56.
To assailyie all uther meanes possible before … batell
c. (1) 1488 Rep. Sir Rob. Menzies MSS. 704.
I sal … lat it at my possable pouer
1492 (c 1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 63.
That the haill body of the towne will … defend the sam at their possibill power
1498 Acta Conc. II 253.
[That the said John, Earl of Craufurd] sal do his possible deligence til enter to the custumes [etc.]
Ib. 286.
And the sade Andro do nocht his possible deligence to call the sadis witnes
1692 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 433.
[Cooll giving his] possible [assistance]
(2) 1596 Dalr. II 281/4.
Ilk flies to his awne cuntrie with possable haist
(3) 1575 Conv. Burghs I 46.
To mak the provest … to be aduerteist thairof with diligence possibill

B. adv. Possibly. = Possibilly adv. 1572 Facs. Nat. MSS. III lxiii.
To requite yowr lordshippes … in what I possible can do
1533 A. Home in Bell. Livy II 234/14.
And they decried to perfyt … thair buildinges (if possible they could) with the guids of thame quheme [etc.]
1626 Aberd. Council Lett. I 251.
Howsone possibill it can be collectit it salbe send to him
1655 Rothesay B. Rec. 9.
Alse near and justly as possible they can
1661 Black Sc. Witches 44.
Else possible he might have fund him before
1680 Edinb. B. Rec. X 405.
Soe soon as possible he can

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"Possibil adj.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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