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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).

Stedabil(l, Stedable, Steadabil(l, adj. Also: stedabyl, -ibill, -ebyll, stedeabill, steidabill, -able, stead(d)able, steadeabill, steedable, steddabill, -able, stadabill, -able, staidabill, staedebill, stoddable. [Sted(e n.1 13. Cf. 17th c. Eng. steedable (1635), steadible (Charles I, 1648).] Of service, helpful, useful, profitable (to (for) another) (in a matter).

1. predic. a. Of a person or persons. b. Of a (chiefly, nonmaterial) thing, action, event, etc. c. Of an object, also, (the construction of) a building, etc.a. 1465 Aberd. B. Rec. MS V i 568 (11 Dec.).
That the saide Thomas sal be stedable to the saide Willam in all thingis that he has ado and to do him alsmekle worschip as he has done him lake at al his power
1524 St. P. Henry VIII IV 131.
Gyff thyz raulme may fynde that France vol be mare stedabyl to them and dw mare for them than Ingland vyll, thay vyl be loth to tyne them
1568 Breadalbane Lett.
I am sibbar to his ll nor ony of thame … and hopis … to be as stedable as sum of thame that braggis maist now
c1577 Waus Corr. 165.
Ye sall find me alwayis reddie … quhensoevir ye have to do quhairin I can be stedabill to yow
1596 Bk. Univ. Kirk III 899.
My freinds … may be stedable to me be thair counsell
1600-1610 Melvill 371.
His [sc. Christ's] officers and ministers … hes bein terrible to these enemies, and maist stedable for yow
1643 Glasgow B. Rec. II 58.
Bussinessis … wherin he may prove stedable to the toune
c1650 Spalding II 88.
Drawing Schir Williame Dik … to his opinioun, who is so stedabill
1653 Humble Acknowledgment Sins Ministry 87.
Desiring to be taken notice of, more then to be stedable in the publick service
1667 Glasgow B. Rec. III 92.
That … the lord generall may prove heirafter less behovefull and stedable to the toune as all the worth of their [sc. his soldiers'] quartering will extend to
(b) 1565 Cal. Sc. P. II 208.
Thair iijm men in dew tyme, shalbe moyr steaddable to our cause
1623 Bk. Carlaverock II 66.
Neathir my selve, nor my frindis, can be soe steadable to do your Lordship service as my adversaries are
1631 Sel. Biog. I 367.
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 320.
How steadable a thing is a Saviour, to make a sinner rid of his chains and fetters!
1640 12th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. viii 25.
[Without help, he can neither do good to himself nor be] steadabil [to his friends]
a1651 Calderwood VII 382.
For the author was in the meane time lurking in Cranstoun, in a secrete chamber appointed for him by my Ladie Dame Sara Cranstoun who was manie wayes steadable to him
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 148.
He is as steadable to him as a good mastive
1696 Curiosities Charta Chest 72.
Severals who have been … officers in our service, who are now … out of imployment, may be very steadable at this juncture
(c) 1653 Douglas Corr. 265.
Thus you see I am homely with yow, and I will lykwayes desyr wherin I can be steedable to you, that you will use me
1679 J. Somerville Mem. II 59.
He had been serviceable and steedable to him
1692 Edinb. B. Rec. XII 89.
To gratifie such persons as were assisting and steedable to the toune
(d) 1587 Cal. Sc. P. IX 482.
I howp to be no less staedebill to ȝowir lordschip in my byding at home
1649 Old Dundee I 334.
In training their young ones up in the science and knowledge of letters and better enabling them to be staidabill to the burgh heirefter
1652 Argyll Synod II 13.
Some charge wher he may be stadable in the work of the gospel
b. 1524 St. P. Henry VIII IV 116.
This wilbe ane greyt stryncht to the Kyng my sone … and wilbe steddabill to his grace
1533 Boece 497b.
Quhat thing … efferis bettir vailȝeand prince than fare successioun quhilk to him … may be richt stedeabill?
1566 Prot. Bk. J. Robeson MS 126.
Quhilk coniunctfeftment of the saidis … land … salbe stedable and sufficient to the said Margarete
1574 Cal. Sc. P. V 41.
1595 Edinb. B. Rec. V 142.
The … using of mayne floure … is mair superfluous, serving the appetyte of delicate persouns and ane destructioun of vivers rather than necessar to ane commoun weill and stedabill in sic an derth
1597 Edinb. B. Rec. V 199.
That the forme of thair nichtlie watche … hes bene sumptuous to the saids nichtboures and nathing stedabill to the toun
1601 Melvill 498.
Then is the Word right stedable indeid
1612 Edinb. B. Rec. VI 88.
Ane parliament … quhairin thair may intervene many things stedabill to the commoun weill of this burgh
c1630 Bk. Carlaverock II 123.
Consider that the King my maister's frienship is much moir stedable to you then yours can be to him
1641 Acts V (1817) 456/1.
If my service can be acceptable and stedable to your Ma. … I heirby hartilie … offer the samen
(b) 1588 Lett. Jas. VI to Eliz. 55.
I shall so procure the concurrence of all my goode subjectis … as sall make my friendshippe the more steadable unto you
1601 Wodrow's Life of Bruce 99.
Such service … as was indeed very steadable to the cause
1600-1610 Melvill 271.
The ministerie of Mr. Robert Bruce was verie steadable and mightie that yeir
1642 Misc. Spald. C. I 23.
Your counsells and good aduyce which I hold to bee mor steadable for me then [etc.]
1653 Binning Wks. 247.
Consider, if you owe so much to the flesh, whether or not it be so steadable and profitable unto you?
Urquhart Rabelais III xxix.
(c) 1644 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 403.
Although their presence here would be very comfortable unto us, very steedable to the publick
(d) 1683 Edinb. City Archives Letters II (23).
When any thing is got heir it is still as steidable to put of things
(e) 1608 Craven Argyll Diocese 60.
The stipends of ministers … are not now so stoddable [sic] as they were of old
c. 1620 Conv. Burghs III 107.
They fand the said herberie commodious and stedable to all ships
1624 Aberd. B. Rec. II 394.
The bigging of ane brig ower the watter of Bogye … wilbe most stedibill to the haill cuntrie
1631 Glasgow B. Rec. II 4.
The building of ane peir at the Kelburne fute quhilk may be steddable to the merchantis of this burghe
a1651 Calderwood II 562.
To demolishe [the castell of Glasgow] least it sould be anie wise stedable to the Erle of Lennox
1660 Glasgow B. Rec. II 435.
That the said mylne was werie stedable to the toune in tyme of ane drouth and frost
(b) 1627 Kellie Pallas Armata 110.
This bow is verie steadable in warlike service
1630 Stirling's Royal Lett. II 459.
A Spanish schip … wherein ther wer some ordinance … which may be recovered and be steadable for our service
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 40.
Some of them drawen with oxen, most with mules, without whilk I think France could not subsist they are so steadable to them
(c) 1599 Conv. Burghs II 58. 1600 Conv. Burghs II 94.
How necessar and steidabill the heavin of the Elie in Fyfe was to the haill traffikeris be sey
1609 Conv. Burghs II 277.
1620 Perth Kirk S. MS 15 May.
That brig is werye steidabill to this brugh
1653 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII 322.
Sieing the yett is faultie and serves for no use there and may be more steidable in uther warke
1664 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 519.
The said bridge wes the only hie passage mercat way from the south to the north … and most steidable for all travellers
(d) 1633 Linlithgow B. Rec. 10 May.
Bigging of ane bridge wpone Blaikburne water quhilk is most stadabill to the peipill

2. attrib. 1530 Lamont P. 38.
Me Johnne Lawmont … to be bund … to ane nobill … lord Archibald erle Argyll … that I and my forsaidis is and salbe leill trew and stedabill men and seruandis to the said erle
1575 Conv. Burghs I 38.
We all togidder do acknaulege ȝour stedable and gude seruice
1600-1610 Melvill 145.
Mr. James Lawsone … wasted his vitall sprites be piece-meall and within few monethes thairefter cutted the thrid of his maist stedable and comfortable lyff to the Kirk of Scotland
1606 Haddington Mem. 213.
Your lordschipis most faithfull and steadabill freind
c1610 Melville Mem. 97.
To propone the matter as a stedable allyance for the weill of the empyre
1613 Crim. Trials III 246.
To quhome ȝe wald be willing to do all maner of guid and steidable offices
a1680 Blair Autob. 65.
He would be unwilling to part with so steadable and faithful a servant
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 147.
I finde Christ the most steadable friend … the need & usefulness of Christ is seen best in trials
1638 Henderson Serm. 117.
1638 Henderson Serm. 162.
As that is als steadable a point as any that is in it, so it is als laudable a point as any
1646 Baillie II 339.
A verie fast and steadable friend
1661 Dunlop P. II 109.
[His] kind and steadable [brother]
1688 Conv. Burghs IV 74.
How steidable and necessar a person he is

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"Stedabil adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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