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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, v.1 Also: stabyl(l, staible. [ME and e.m.E. stable, stabel, stabul (all Cursor M.), stabille (Manning), stabill (c1400), stabyll (c1485); Estabill v.]

1. tr., lit. and fig. To establish, place, lodge securely, plant (a person or thing) in (with) a place, person, situation, etc.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xliv 163.
My patrimone haf I Stablit in sa sekire place
?14.. Ship Laws c. 12 (H2).
The maistir is haldin to se that all the gudis be kepit & stablit & welestowit … or he pas out of the havin
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I 190.
Gif he thynkis he ma do better to stabil hym in othir placis, he sal haue our fre lycens
c1475 Wall. (1570) i 125 (cf. Stabil(l adj. 1).
Canmore … Brocht it [sc. the stone] to Scone, and gart it stabill thair
1490 Irland Mir. I 36/18.
The gift of wisdome that stablis and confermys us and oure luf sa mekile in God that [etc.]
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 171/18 (A).
The wikit rutis of wrang and ewill deidis that welany … has wndertakin to ground & stable in noble hert
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 172/19 (A).
He that will be ane werray noble stable & rute in his hert thir xij wertuis
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1713.
Goddis sone … Quhilk on the croce sufferit pane … Into thi grace the cristin pepill stabill
1513 Doug. v xii 182.
Ane hallowit schaw … as sanctuar Plantit thai haue and stabillit prestis thar
(2) a1500 Bk. Chess 250.
The wand … of iustice … Kepis a king … Stabillit and groundit with iustice

b. To cause (an army or navy) to encamp or put in at a port; to establish (them) in an encampment, etc. or at rest. 1533 Boece 150.
At Alect in sure portis stabling thare naving
1533 Boece 235b.
Maximiane … behufit stabill his armye in thare wynter schelis
1535 Stewart 31935.
Or the oist culd stablit be at rest, The nicht wes cuming

2. To found, establish (a city, institution, etc.). c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1575.
That he had gart ane cite stable [ed. stabile]
1494 Loutfut MS 6a.
That the … office of armes wes … governyt stablit & exersit be notablis madenys without spot or nam of villany
c1520-c1535 Nisbet I 3.
His k[ingdom]e will I stable, he sall buyld ane hous for my [name an]d I will stable the sete of his kingdome for e[vir]
1533 Boece 38.
The fatall marbill … quhilk … he had brocht to testify that his regnne suld be stabillit in Ireland
1533 Bell. Livy I 40/31.
Was nocht his mynde gevin to found and big ane nobill ciete, & to stabil the samyn
1533 Bell. Livy I 113/7.
He mengit baith the manipillis of Romanis & … Latynis togiddir, and stabillit baith the two armyis vnder ane band

3. To establish, put into effect (a purpose, law, etc.); to set out, clarify, realise (thought, affairs, etc.); to verify (a fact). c1420 Wynt. viii Prol. 11.
Sa, … I haf stablit myne entent … to mak … [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. ix Prol. 33.
This tretys … Tyl bettyr than I am I commend. For, as I stabil myne intent, Offt I fynd impediment Wyth … maladis
c1420 Ratis R. 781.
Quhill thocht and will be stablit clere [etc.]
1461 Liber Plusc. I 387.
Sobris your wyt and stabill your entent
a1500 Henr. Orph. 599.
All thir [sc. astronomical events] to speik it may be tollerable And none vdir quhilk no causis stable
1513 Doug. v xii 176.
All the hedismen … Stabillis thar lawys and statutis for that town
1529 St. P. Henry VIII IV 550.
We may mak dew reformatioun and stable ane gude ordour for the ȝeutheid of the Erle Bothvile
1533 Boece 50.
Be how mekill wisdome ȝe haue stabillit ȝoure affaris
a1568 Scott i 163.
Syne stabill statutis, steidfast to stand still, That barrone, clerk, and burges be content
a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. 65/28.
Sic quyetnes to stabill
c1590 Fowler I 117/139.
To stay and stable his intent

4. To establish, put in place, appoint. a. An official. b. A person (as) an official. c. A person to do (something).a. 1501–2 Treas. Acc. II 140.
To David Grame, to pas to Glasgo to stabill his procuratouris
1549 Compl. 19/2.
The hie monarchis, lordschips ande autoriteis ar stablit be the infinite diuyne ordinance
?1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 302.
At I maye stabill my procuturis befor the lordis
b. 1447–8 (1449–50) Reg. Great S. 71/1.
Me Johne Lorde of Haliburtoune … til hef made, stablit, depute and ordanit … Schyr Alexander of Hume … my scheriff-depute
1478–9 Acta Aud. 73/1.
Dauid Mersare nemmit stabilit & ordanit Johne of Culquhone [etc.] … procuratouris for him
1501 Dunferm. B. Rec. I 119. 1519 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 51.
Wat Scot stabillit and ordanit Alexander Scot [etc.] … his procuratoris, to follow and defend in all caus tuychand him
1520–1 Dundee B. Ct. I 18b (18 Feb.).
Will Monypenny … has stablit in jugisment maister James Stangeour [etc.] … his procuratouris
1531 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 114.
1553 Lanark B. Rec. 29.c. 1537 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 184.
Jhone Keyne … hes stabyllit Willem Burne, … to follow and fend all thingis perteineing to hyme

5. a. To cause to be or become stable, peaceful, etc. (chiefly of a land, realm, etc.); to secure (an area of country). b. To secure to (oneself) (a kingdom, etc.); to take (it) into one's possession.(1) 1375 Barb. xix 138.
That he pes in his land wald ma, And all the landis stabill swa, That his air eftir hym suld be In peis
c1475 Wall. vii 1089.
Wallace … Stablyt the land, as him thocht best suld be Syne with ane ost he passit to Dunde
1533 Bell. Livy I 43/19.
How he stabillit his empire in gude pece with his nychtbouris
a1568 Scott i 41.
Gar stanche all stryiff, and stabill thy estaitis In constance, concord, cherite, and lufe
(2) a1500 MS Rawl. Q. b. 4 91b.
The gift of pete festnys And stabillis the hart quhar it restis
b. 1531 Bell. Boece I 62.
Gillus … to stabil the realme to him with sickir firmance, tuk the aithis of his pepil
1531 Bell. Boece I 175.
Als sone as the realme wes stabillit to him in sicker peace [etc.]
1531 Bell. Boece II 49.
Hengist seand Vortigern put fra the crown and banist in Walis, thocht best to stable the crown to him
a1538 Abell 31b.
He stabillit to him the kinrik of Britane in gret pece

6. intr. Of the sea, wind, or weather: To become calm; to die down; to become settled. 1513 Doug. iv viii 44.
Tary quhil wynd blaw soft, and stabill see
1513 Doug. viii ii 45.
Tybyr his swelland fludis … Stabillys and cawmys
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7584.
Quhen stabilit is all this wind [etc.]
1563 Cal. Sc. P. II 83.
[How soon the weather begins to be] stablit

b. Of a person's hand or handwriting: To become steady, controlled. 1582 Misc. Stair Soc. I 115.
For as men growis in aige thair hand is war staiblit

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



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