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

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Sabill, Sable, n.2 and adj. Also: -yl(l; -ell. [ME (1352) and e.m.E. sable, OF sable (15th c. in Godefroy); appar. f. Sabill n.1]

A. noun. 1. Black, as a heraldic colour. In a feild of siluer … Ane egill … All of sable the self; Howlat 356 (A).
And sum sais that al coulouris ar subiect to sable quhilk representis the blak for in al myrk place all coulouris ar blak; Loutfut MS 14b.
He beris endent perbend asure & sable; Ib. 146b.
My baner … Of siluer schene thrie otteris into sabill; Lynd. Test. Meldrum 107.
The armes … as fallowis Azur thre beirheidis siluir mussalit sable [etc.]; 1561 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 502.

2. The colour black; also sabill blak, blak sabill. Freq. as a symbol of care or mourning. Only in verse. (1) Baneris … of siluer and sabill; Gol. & Gaw. 20.
Ane … twme purs and ane pair of beidis of sabill; Myll Spect. 297/18.
My clokis thai ar caerfull in colour of sabill; Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 418.
Id. G. Targe 126.
For him, allace, now may thow weir the sabill Sen he is gon, the flour of chevelrie; Ib. (OUP) 111/7.
Nycht als blak as sabill; Ib. 176/19.
Sabyll; Doug. vii Prol. 167.
Thov lytil quair of mater miserabyll, Weil auchtest thou couerit to be with sabyl; Lynd. Mon. 2.
Id. Dreme 81, etc.
All of sabill salbe myne aray Whill ȝe returne; Clar. iii 223.
Never … scho … wore ane hew bot ane, And that was sabill, signe of steidfastnes; Ib. 259.
Ane sure hairt set in to sabill, Ane wofull hairt, bot gif ȝe rew; Scott ix 29.
(2) Venus … cled in ane nyce array, The ane half grene, the vther half sabill blak; Henr. Test. Cress. 221.
Than come Dame Dreming, all clad in blak sabill, With sweyning nymphis in cullouris variabill; 1570 Sat. P. x 11.

b. Blackness, darkness. And as the new mone … Kythis quhilis her cleir face through cluddis of sable; Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 433.
The purpour sone … Doing all sable fro the hevynnis chace; Ib. (OUP) 142/56.
Sabill [R. sabell]; Ib. 191/2.
Nor lat no sable frome ws thy bewty hyd; Bann. MS 238b/12.

B. adj. 3. Black; dark (of clouds, etc.). Only in verse. In colour sabill; Fyve Bestes 87.
According to my sable weid I mone haif sad maneris; Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 447.
Ib. (OUP) 60/2.
This vale of bale … Ourdirkit with the sable clud nocturn; Dunb. App. xi 26.
Opys … Persand the ayr with body all ourschrowd And dekkyt in a watry sabill clowd; Doug. xi xi 140.
The nycht furthspred hir cloke with sabill lyst; Ib. xiii Prol. 38.
Lynd. Mon. 1416.
Scott xiv 4.
England … now weaires the sabill weede; Craig i 18.
1647 Melvill lxxi.

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"Sabill n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/sabill_n_2>

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