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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

S(c)hable, Schabill, n. Also: sheabill, chable, shabel, shabble, sabble. [Obs. Germ. schabel, sabel, local varr. of Germ. säbel, Polish szabla, Magyar száblya. Cf. Ital. sciab(o)la. Cf. also 17th c. Eng. sabel (1617), of which the form sabble (see (b) below) may be a single instance, Germ. or Du. sabel, of the same ulterior origin, whence also the F. altered form sabre.] A sabre.Also attrib. with blade.(a) 1632 Lithgow Trav. v 208.
The onely best shables, or short crooked swords, that be in the world are made here [sc. Damascus]
1637 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 436.
[The defender had bought] ane gune and sheabill [for £6]
c1650 Spalding I 238.
The Hollanderis canon and schables
1654 Dumfries Kirk S. 16 March.
For … blooding a man buy shabellis
1667 Edinb. Test. LXXIII 86.
c1679 Kirkton Hist. 418.
And … smote him on the cheek with his shabel
1681 Fountainhall Decis. I 159.
The general … struck him with the pomel of his shable on his face
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) Sig. A 5b.
A sea-captain offered to strike off my head with a shable
1683 Turner Pallas Armata 171.
The Persians, Turks, Russians, Polonians, and Hungarians, for most part wear scimiters and shables
1685 Soc. Ant. LVIII 356.
1699 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 221.
[Supplied] 250 mounted shables
1715 Macritchie Gypsies 118.
He was … repute an Egyptian, and did wear a pistol and shable
(b) 1679 Wodrow Hist. III (1829) 44.
The commander … with a shabble struck him on the face
1683 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 20 Jan.
That he [sc. the jailer] … wear constantly a sword or sabble
attrib. 1699 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 221.
Shable blades

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



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