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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).

Stabil(l, Stable, n. Also: stabille, -yll, -el(l, -ul(e, staib(b)il(l, staible. [ME and e.m.E stable (c1250), stabul (Prompt. Parv.), OF estable (1155 in Larousse), L. stabulum.] 1430 Liber Coll. Glasg. in Orig. Par. I 15.
[The Bishop's Lands … of the] Stabillgrene
1507 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 171.
Inter communem venellam de Stabilgreyn
1532 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 40.
Ane … tenement … lyand in the stabyll gren
1566 Reg. Episc. Morav. 403.
Acrae vulgariter nuncupatae the stabil akir
1685 Lauder Notices Affairs II 627.
Ther ware other grounds called the King's stables, belonging to the Castle of Edinburgh

1. A stable, a building in which a horse or horses are kept, also once, temporary shelter for horses. Also transf. as cart stable, housing for a cart.(1) 1438 Reg. St. A. 480.
The best chaumer the best stabill next my lordis
a1500 Rauf C. 116.
Ta … his coursour … To the stabill
a1500 Lanc. 1189.
1488 Treas. Acc. I 95.
To George of Crafurde to beyt the Kingis stabil in Edinburgh
1508 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 117.
That all stabulares within this burgh haif thair stabillis weill and sufficientlie furnist with hek [and] manynger
1512 Prot. Bk. J. Foular I 155.
1513 Doug. v iii 81.
The dowbill ȝokkyt cartis … furth of thar stabillys gan rusch
1519 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 50.
1529 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 7.
For … new lokkis … ane to the hay hous ane to kingis gelding stabill and the feird to the carthors stable
1551 Edinb. B. Rec. II 158.
[To] haue thair stabillis … furnist with … catbandis on thair duris for sure keping of the hors
c1559 Innes Rev. XVI 129.
Laid within the meikill kyst in the provostis stabil within the ȝard
1567 Crim. Trials I i 493.
Thai came to the back of the cunȝie-house and the back of the stabillis, while thay came to the Cannogate
1602 Reg. Great S. 472/2.
The gait … that passis fra the park of Falkland to the Kingis-stabillis
1616 Reg. Privy C. X 684.
That thay designne barnis to be stabillis, and caus haikis and mangeiris to be sett up in thame
(b) 1455 Misc. Spald. C. II xcii.
[The tenant] to find yeirly … a sufficient stable upon the said ground for the number of twelve horses for all the tym of their residence in the burgh
1505 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 106.
Ony hors that bringis victuallis or laidis to the merkat nocht standand in stable [etc.]
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 280.
To Robert Calendar … for the … biggein of ane stable for fiftie hors at the Polerth
1587 Perth Kirk S. in Spottiswoode Misc. II 256.
That no stables be in the kirk-yard after Whitsunday
1587 Carmichael Etym. 5.
Praesepe, a stable or crib
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 132.
The said Alexanderis … stable, byris [etc.]
1672 Galloway P. 17 May.
[A tack of] the said tennement viz. the leach kitchin and pantrie the stable forbooth and for seller
(c) 1591–2 Edinb. B. Rec. V 57.
Baikhoussis, staibills, hedder staks … subject to fyre
1624 Forbes Baron Ct. 219.
1646 Aberd. Council Lett. III 43.
Our haill merchand boothes … are becum staibbillis for horses
(d) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 127/27.
I was never dautit in to stabell
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lx 52.
Sa far abowe him sett at tabell That wont was for to muk the stabell
1650 Lamont Diary 12.
1672 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS 16 Oct.
John Bell … did apprehend ane stirk … and locked it in ane stabell
(e) 1504 Reg. Cupar A. I 256.
Sufficiand chawmeris and stabulis, to resaue and herbry to the nowmer of … sextene pair hors
(2) 1565 Treas. Acc. XI 407.
ijcxxx elnis of poldavie cammes to be ane stable to xij hors
(3) 1529 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 10.
In candill thir twa olkis precedand to the cart stable
1531–2 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 77.

b. attrib. With dur, and wyndo, also in proverb. use; also with hors, a horse kept stabled.(1) 1488–9 Acta Aud. 122/1.
Dampnage … sustenit … in the brekin of his stable-durris & wyndois
1507 Treas. Acc. IV 87.
For tua lokkis to the stable dur
a1568 Bann. MS 158a/42.
Then the kie of the stable dur is with the knaif tynt
1603 Crim. Trials II 422.
[He] causit hir lay ane pairt thairof vnder the mylne dur, and the rest vnder the stabill dur, for distructione of his hors and cattell
1605 Dalyell Darker Superst. 379.
The flesch … was put abone the byre and stable-dure headis … to destroy their cattle
c1650 Spalding I 49.
Thay … brak wp the stabill durris and took away tua of the Marquess best horss
proverb. 1570 Sat. P. xxii 27.
Ouir lait it is the stabill dure to steik, Quhen sturdie steid is stollin
a1585 Maitl. Q. 243/6.
The proverb auld I put in vre Quhen stead is stollin then steik the stable dure
1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. Prov. No. 192. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 706.(2) 1669 Rothesay B. Rec. 168.
That all persounis within this brughe keip thair stabil horses upone thair awin grase

c. Housing for animals more generally. c1420 Wynt. iv 2089.
Alkyne best hamly thare … Left thare stablys … Lewand thare auld hamylenes
1603 Crim. Trials II 422 (see b above).

d. specif. The stable in which Jesus was born. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 157.
In the stabill thai fand the bony barne
1513 Doug. x Prol. 105.
[Thow] that lawyt sa far Thy maieste … Tobe born man intill ane oxis stabill

2. An establishment concerned with the care and maintenance of horses and equipment used with horses, as, carts, etc. b. specif. The (Kingis) stabill, the establishment in the royal household primarily concerned with the supply of horses for royal use, their care, etc. c. attrib. With fe (Fe n.2 6) the charge made for stabling a horse, childer, boy children, a boy employed in a or b above, and fare. 1513 Doug. xii ii 87.
The byssy knapys and verlettis of hys stabill Abowt thame [sc. the horses] stud
1546 Lynd. Trag. Card. 373.
Mak ȝour abbotis of rycht religious men … not to rebaldis new cum frome the roste, Nor of ane stuffat stollin out of ane stabyll
b. 1489 Treas. Acc. I 128.
To a ȝeman of the Kingis stabil
1507 Treas. Acc. III 320.
Ȝallo carsay to be thre cotis to the thre childer of the stable
1508 Treas. Acc. IV 140.
To the Maister of Stable he laid doun for vj hors … at the bringing furth of the bestis at the barres
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 262.
To ane grume of the stabulez of Falkland … ane doublete Mullane fustiane
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 307.
To John Sparty, smytht, to the King and Quenis stabulis, in haill payment of all hors schone remufis to the King and Quenis stabulis and hors
1512 Treas. Acc. IV 341.
To make Dauesone of the stablez to pas to the kingis erandis to the Erle of Cassillis
1536 Treas. Acc. VI 296.
To Jame Purves, grume in the stabill, to be standing housouris to the grete hors, x elnys kelter gray
1537 Treas. Acc. VI 299.
For barrois and bukettis to the stabill vij s.
1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 115.
Jonet Abirnethie takkiswoman of the stabill
1587–8 Cal. Sc. P. IX 534.
Of the masteris of our stabule, Alexander Home [etc.]
1589 Exch. R. XXII 33.
James Bennet, clerk of the stable
1595 Purves Revenue Crown 11.
To make & performe the order of his majestis equirie & stable
pl. 1538–9 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 242.
For vi wolkis wagis upone the stabillis
1540 Maxwell Mem. I 408.
The stabillis and Ȝowngis compt
c. attrib. (1) 1501 Treas. Acc. II 44.
For the ladyis hors met and stable fee ix s.
1511 Treas. Acc. IV 284.
For the Kingis merz expensis by thair schone, stabill fee, and uthir geir
1551 Edinb. B. Rec. II 158.
That thay tak na stabill fee fra the parsonis that lugeis with thame, thay byand corne and hay fra the saidis stabillaris
1556 Crim. Trials I i 390.
The stabill fie, for ane horse, xxiiij houris, j d.
(2) 1567 Liber Dryburgh 400.
To Thom Sowdoun and the stabill childer … as the tailyie stik beris
1676 Cunningham Diary 83.
To the stable-boys in drinkmoney
(3) 1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 184 marg.
Pryces of aill, breid, talloun, candill, stray, stabill fare [Ib. best oats 2 s. the peck … straw and stable fare, 8 d. for every 24 hours]

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"Stabil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Aug 2022 <>



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