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

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).

Ribban, -en, n. Also: rybb-, rib-, ryb-, rebb- and -ane, -and, -ain, -ene, -ein(e, -on, -ine, -in(g, -yn. [Late ME and e.m.E. ryban (1411), ryband (Prompt. Parv.), rybben (1545), ribbond (1555), -and, OF riban, of unknown origin. See also Reban n., Ruban n.] Ribbon, or a ribbon.A stuff woven into a narrow band, and used as a lace, etc., or as an ornamental addition to clothing; a length of ribbon.Chiefly pl., freq. coll. pl. indicating bulk rather than (1) 1471 Exch. R. VIII 120.
iij unciis de ribbanys
1473 Treas. Acc. I 16.
viij elne of smale rybbanis for the king
1551 Ib. X 28.
vj quarteris rybbanis … to hyng my lord governouris ordoure about his graces nek
1552–3 Edinb. B. Rec. II 337.
1565 Treas. Acc. XI 350.
Ribbennis to the cloikis and dawanteris
1574 Edinb. Test. III 143b.
Thrie boutis narrow ribbennis of scheitis
1583 Treas. Acc. MS 124.
For ribbennis to knit the kneis of the breickis
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 191b.
Tua dossone braid glansing ribbaneis at xxxvj s. the dossone
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 79. 1627–8 Peebles B. Rec. I 415.
For thrie els of greine ribbingis to the silver arrow
1643–4 Dumfries Treas. Acc. MS 7.
For the officers clothis ribbens clesps
c1650 Spalding I 195.
Sum wemen … knyt blew ribbinis about thair messens cragis
1663 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp in Misc. Maitl. C. II 502.
Ribbanes to my lord shoes
1666 Edinb. B. Rec. X 10.
The skinners … wer allwayis in use to horne all sort of poynts ribbens [etc.]
1684 Ib. XI 122.(b) 1489 Treas. Acc. I 158.
Half a dussane of rybanis
1501 Ib. II 22.
For ane unce ribanis to be pointis to the king v s. Item, for hornyng of the samyn xvj d.
1503 Ib. 203.
For ane unce sewing silk to be cordis to the collaris of the kingis gownis quhen tha tuke away the ribanis
1506 Ib. III 51.
For … small grene ribanes to hing the said cowrtingis
Ib. 248. 1507–8 Ib. IV 31.
1623 Edinb. Test. LI 320b.
Nyne bowt … clinkard ribenes
1635 Galloway P. 11 Aug.
Ribins to be … poynts
1667 Old Ross-shire I 60.
Ribands to thair gravats
1674 Argyll Justic. Rec. 44.
The said pannell broke open his pack and stoll out therof threttie els of ribins of diverse collours
1695 Banff Ann. I 166.
That it shall not be in the power of any person when sealls are appendit to adhibit any ribens to burgess acts, but only ane small strip of parchment
(c) 1664 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp in Misc. Maitl. C. II 509.
For rebbanes … for the childrene
(2) 1501 Treas. Acc. II 22.
For … worsat ribanis to cord the samyn goune
Ib. 32.
Ane skenȝe of Franch ribanis
1522 Perth Hammermen 20.
For … silkin ribanis to the chesapill
1566–7 in Hay Fleming Q. Mary 508.
Quhyte Florens ribbennis
1580–1 Treas. Acc. MS 36 (2).
Ane bolt of silkin rybbennis
1584 Edinb. Test. XIII 151b.
Tua hankis of Danskine ribbanes for scheittis
1585 Ib. XV 26.
Worsett rybbeins at xviij d. the ell
1586 Ib. 64b.
Aucht dissone floren ribbennis
1651 Ib. LXV 225b.
Of silk & silver ribbines
1665 Irvine Mun. II 91.
Twintie ellis of small silk ribbens
1672 Stirling Common Good 75.
Twa elnes of silver ribins to the possit cupe [at the races]
(3) 1561 Treas. Acc. XI 86.
Ribbynnis of blak silk to ege the said goun with
1661 Acts VII 253/2.
Ribbands of worsted ilk ten groce
sing. (1) 1502 Treas. Acc. II 198.
For … worsait ribane to cord the said goune
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Georgics iii 487.
Niveavitta, a bande withe ane quhyt string, ribband
1611 Mar & Kellie MSS 67.
iij yards of ribin to the hosekinnes
1621 Maxwell Mem. I 331.
For ane ell of blak ribbeine to be ane stay to ȝour hatt, i d.
1676 Cunningham Diary 83.
For … flow'r'd ribbon to my cloaths
1700 Old Ross-shire I 144.
Blak ribin
(2) a1500 Henr. Garmont 28.
Hir patelet of gud pansing, Hir hals ribbane of rewth
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 61.
He also carried the golden key … in a blew ribbing
1595 Duncan App. Etym.
Vitta, taenia, a head-les or ribband
c1650 Spalding I 154.
Few or none of this haill army wantit ane blew ribbin hung about his crag doun wnder his left arme, quhilk thay callit the covenanteris ribbin
1669 Cullen Kirk S. 14 Nov.
His sonne called for a ribband he had given to a lass

b. attrib. and comb. 1562 Treas. Acc. XI 225.
Ribben silk
1568 Edinb. Test. I 153b.
Ribbing silk
1615 Ib. XLVIII 215.
Thretteine pair of ribben schivereines
1636 Black Bk. Taymouth xxiii.
ii dusson orange ribband points
1671 Edinb. B. Rec. X 111.
At the instance of some ribbing weavers

c. Saint Johnston's ribban(d, a halter, the hangman's rope. 1638 Adamson Muses Thr. 119.
Hence of Saint Johnston's ribband came the word In such a frequent use, when with a cord They threaten rogues
1642 A Second Discovery by the Northern Scout 7.
I hope Gregory Brandon will one day gird him up in a hempen halter on St. Johnnestone ribband
?c1660 Bk. Pasquils 169.
Sanct Johnstones ryben sets him best

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"Ribban n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jun 2022 <>



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