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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
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Movabill, a. and n. Also: movabil(l)e, -abyl(l, -abell, -able, -eble, -ebal, -ebyll, mowabil(l, -abil(l)e, -abyl(l, -able, -ible, -obill, moveabill, -eable, mov-, mowiabil(l, mouvabill, muvabill, -abell, muwabill, mwabill. [Late ME. and e.m.E. mov(e)able (14–15th c.), moveyabylle (1430), mooveable (1621–2), OF. movable f. mov-oir Move v. Cf. also Mufabil(l.]The L. equivalent of senses 1 and 2 is mobilis, mobilia (bona).

1. adj. That is capable of being moved, removable, transferable, transportable.Chiefly movable gudis (also gude) or geir.Chiefly or only applied to personal possessions, as chattels or money, which, except for the airschip (see below), passed on succession to the next of kin of the deceased as distinguished from ‘heritable’ or ‘immovable’ property, i.e.lands or buildings, which passed to the heir at law: see Heritabill a., Heritag(e n. 1 and Immov(e)abil(l a. 1. Movable goods of persons who were ‘at the horn’ (Horn n.1 2 c) or who had been convicted of certain crimes were subject to escheat (see Inbring v. 2 b and c for examples), whereas heritage was subject to forfeiture for treason only. See also Compris(e v. 3 and Insicht n. 3 for further examples.Movable gudis of airschip, airschip (gudis) movable, movable airschip, = Airschip n. 3. 1681 Stair Inst. ii. i. § 1 (1681) 166.
Succession being now totaily divided, in moveable, and heritable or immoveable, rights. Any thing is called moveable, which, by its nature and use, is capable of motion; as things immoveable are the earth, sea, and things fixed to the earth … These things with us are called heritable, because they descend not to executors, to whom only moveables befall, but to heirs
Ib. iii. v. § 8 (1681) 475.
The nearest of kin succeed alone in moveables
Ib. iv. § 24 (1681) 458.
Heirs having the sole interest in heritable rights are, by our custom, justly excluded from coming in with other children in moveables, except that which is called heirship-moveables, which is the best of every kind of moveable, wherein the defunct's will cannot prejudge the heir
(1) 1445 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 398.
That al … the mouablez gudis … pertening to hym as the Kingis eschete lesse than he cum … and vndirgang the law
1448 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 17.
The land that quhilun [sic] Roger Williamson dwelt in and ane other litil sclate house … to be sald as movable gude
1457 Acts II. 47/2.
The first is spoliacione of movabill gudis
1474 Ib. 107/1.
Anent the aierschipe of movabill gudis
c1500 Barounis Lawis fol. 14.
Eschaetis the quhilkis hapnis to fall be sindry maneris sum tyme in mouable and sum tyme in vnmovable gudis as in landis or tenements
1478 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 471.
Till our luffyt son … al and hale our movabyll gudis … xxxiiij ky tydy
1482–3 Acta Conc. II. cxi.
The lordis auditouris ordanis that the schiref of Perth … mak penny of his movable guidis gif thair ony be … and failyeing … that he mak penny of his unmovable gudis
1495 Ib. I. 382/1. 1496 Ib. II. 20.
As to the said movable gudis takin out of the said tak … that is to say oxin, ky, … beyr, aitis … and uthir gudis
1496–7 Ib. 52.
The twa part of the movable gudis that pertenit to umquhile Laurence Myddiltone
1549 Compl. 150/29.
Ane person may succeid to heretage and to mouabil gudis of his predecessours
Ib. 179/3.
Thai haue spulȝeit and reft grit multiplie of mouiabil gudis as scheip, nolt and horse
c1575 Balfour Pract. 236.
To sell … all … his movabill gudis … quhilk micht pertene to his air
a1578 Pitsc. I. 387/9. 1587 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. 2 n. 4.
Of all theivis and trespassouris that are convict of thair movabil gudis
1597 Acts IV. 119/2.
That nane … bring hame … ony kind of Inglis claith vnder the pane of confiscatioun of … the mouable guidis of the hamebringaris
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 131.
The lords fand that inhibitions could not affect moveable goods sold in a mercat
1653 Z. Boyd in Glasg. Univ. Mun. I. 310.
I leave to my spouse the use of all my moveable goods as bedding, boords and other inspreth
1659 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 59. 1678 Kirkcudbr. Test. 9 Aug.
She … constituts Marion Gordowne her lawfull daughter her only executor universall legator and intromettor with hir whole movable goods
(b) 1500 Buccleuch Mun. II. 101.
Becaus I cwde fynde na mar mowabile gudis
1578 Acts III.113/2.
1589 Orkney Misc. (1953) 40.
His landis … with his haill mowobill guidis
(c) 1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 46.
All thair mouvabill guidis
(d) 1575–6 Dumfries B. Ct. 20 Jan.
The mwabill gudis of vmquhile Jhone Tynding
(2) 1518 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 229.
That … quhat the said tutour dois anent his heretage, takis, aireschip or movable gere, [etc.]
1573 Grant Chart. 152.
Becaus of inlaik of mowabill geir pertenyng to the said Bessie, stranȝeable for the said sowme
1589 Coll. Aberd. & B. 354.
The rigorous removing of insycht plenissing and ornamentis of housis … wnder the pretext and name of mowabil geir
(3) 1506 Orkn. & Shetl. Rec. I. 248.
With all the moveabill beistis that ar contenit in the landis
(4) 1552 Reg. Privy C. I. 134.
To put thaim to the horne and eschaett and inbring all thair gudis movabill for thair contemptioun
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4757.
For quhy, thai haif fyscheit … the tent part of all gude mouebyll
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 132.
The paine of treason is tynsell and forefaltour of life lands gudes and geir moveabill
(5) 1426–7 Cal. Charters Suppl. 16 Jan.
Al our landis … gudis mouablis & vnmouables … to be distrenȝeit
1430 Reg. Great S. 38/2.
I oblys me … and al my guddis movabill and unmovabill to warand this wedsettyng
1442 Raine N. Durham App. 21.
Gudis moueble & vnmoueble
c1450 Cr. Deyng 266.
The sek man … suld … sell all his gudys mouabile & wnmouabile
1455 Lennox Mun. 72. 1473 Holyrood Chart. 153.
His … gudis moueble or vnmoueble
1488 Crim. Trials I. i. 8.
He has forfalt … his lif, landes, officez, gudis movable and vnmouable
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 70/10.
I haue synnit … haldand vnlefullye guddis of vther personis moveable and vnmoveable
1532 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV.100.
We haue takin … all … his gudis movabill and vnmovabill … vnder our speceale protectioun
1603 Inverness Rec. II. 10. 1627 Justiciary Cases I. 74.(b) 1431–2 Newbattle Coll. (Somerville).
I oblys me … all … gudis mowabyl & wnmowabyl
c1450 Cr. Deyng (S.T.S.) 165.
He thinkis dyses to leif his gret riches mowable or wnmouable
1461 Douglas Chart. 90.
1488 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 427.
1490 Liber Melros 600.
My landis rentis possessiones guddis mowible & wnmowible
1592 Stirling Merch. Guild 2.
His guids and geir mowiabill and onemowiabill
(c) 1486 Stirlings of Keir 256.
(6) 1682 Lauder's Observes App. iv. 310.
The court … declares his office, his hail estat, heiratable and moveable, … to be echeated
(7) c 1456 Edinb. B. Rec. MS. 2.
The said Gilbert herefor has renuncit … all and sindry the movabile gudis of aireschip
1478 Acta Conc. I. 15/1.
Ony accioun … for herage of landis or movable gudis of areschip pertening to ane are
(8) 1511 Reg. Privy S. I. 344/2.
The landis and aireschip gudis movable pertenyng to umquhile the said Robert
(9) 1490 Acta Conc. I. 163/2.
It wes denyit … that he … intromett witht his areschip movable or vnmovable
(10) 1561 Glasgow Prot. II. 94.
The haile movabile airschep quhilkis may fall … to hir … be the deceis of the saidis Patrik Hammiltoune
1611 Brechin Test. II. 155.
The air will not resaue nor imbrace the moveable airschip
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 307.
The airs of barrons [etc.] … should have the best of every thing as moveable airshipp
1645 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III. 42.
The said defender as haill and universall intromissatrix with the moueabill airship undirwrittin

b. Of or pertaining to movable property as opposed to heritage; that is, or may be treated as, movable property. 1422 Stirlings of Keir 208.
Wyt ye me … tyl haf wede set and in mouabil wede tyl haf latyng … al my landis of the Gallis holme
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 85 b.
Moueable escheit is, as be pasturing of cattell or beastes in the lands or girse of lords sundrie tymes
1630 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 311.
In cais these moneyes ly upoun … moveabill securitie
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 141.
Ane acquittance granted be ane woman … of ane moveable sowm … could not be extended [etc.]
Ib. II. 73.
Actiones reales semper sequntur rem, in whois hands soever it be, and whither moveable or immoveable
1681 Stair Inst. iii. i. § 27 (1681) 389.
Though no heritabie right … can be arrested till it be made moveable, yet the rents and profits thereof are arrestable and moveable
1687 Lauder Notices Affairs II. 804.
A relict is provided to the lifrent of the conquest, which proves all to be moveable debts

2. noun. Chiefly plur. Movable goods: see sense 1 above.plur. (a) 1561 Inv. Wardrobe 121.
Inventairis of the movables pertening to the Quenis grace dowriare … and to our soverane lady
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I. 570.
Spuilȝeing hir majestie's pretious movabillis, jewellis [etc.]
1571–2 Crosraguel Chart. II. 25.
And inventure maid of the gudis and movables
1577 Edinb. Test. V. 338.
As to the rest of his mouabillis
1578 Acts III. 97/2.
The signatouris of legitimationis, giftis of escheit of movabillis, [etc.]
1578 Rec. Earld. Orkney 143.
Lawfulle lowssit bayth off landis and movablis be hir said umquhill brothir
1584 Acts III. 368/1. 1591-2 Rob Stene .
His jowaillis, movabillis and plaitt
1603 Philotus xlvii.
To her heyris quhat saeuer My moueables I will deuyde
1627 Brechin Test. IV. 285 b.
Alexander Andro … haid na labouringe nor moveablis except the plenessinge of his hous
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 293.
The superplus of the moveables should be devyded in thrie parts
1638 Fam. Innes 230. 1640 Black Bk. Taymouth 94.
In compleit payment of hir half of the moveables
1652 Representation Sad Condition People Glasgow 2. 1664 Stitchill Baron Ct. 31. 1665 Rothesay B. Rec. 94.
Ather to heritage or moveabills
1669 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I. 207.
The whol halfe of the plenishing cloath salt and other movebals whatsomever
1676 Glasgow Chart. II. 192. 1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i. xxxi. iv. (1699) 157.
The messengers executions bearing in an apprysing that he searched but could find no moveabies
1679 Fountainhall Decis. I. 38.
Thir moveables … I have now possessed them by the space of these 20 years, and possession in mobilibus presumes property
1681 Ib. 162.
He legated his moveables to his relict by testament
1684–5 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. 3 Ser. XXXVI. 168.
To bring in Mcilhaffie rebell his movabellis
(b) a1578 Pitsc. I. 409 n. 5.
This prince left meikill riches behynd him bayth of gould and siluir and jewallis, horsis and schippis with mony mowabillis quhilk nevir come to compt
1603 Shetland Sheriff Ct. MS. 98 b.
Making ane arff and dewisioun of all landis and mowablis
1640 Misc. Spald. C. V. 228.
Vnder the paine of ther hail mowabils
(c) 1612 Anal. Scot. II. 285.
Concerning the moynis and muuabells quhich my father left behind him
sing. 1491 Acta Conc. I. 170/1.
He sall gif to the said Johne his movable that he haid the tyme of the contract

3. a. adj. and noun. In Ptolemaic astronomy, applied to any of the heavenly spheres, including the fixed Primum mobile. Also the first moveable. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6046.
The first and hiest heuin mouabyll, Sall stand, but turnyng, firme and stabyll
a 1649 Drummond Wks. (1711) 171.
The planets have a motion contrary to the first moveable

b. adj. Movable fest (= feast), one of varying date, though always on the same day of the week. 1588 King Cat. in Cath. Tr. 205/13.
I thocht it necessar to conionne the awld kallendar with the reformeit, and annexe thairto twa tables of the mouable festis for 48 yeres to cum

4. adj. Of a tenant: Capable of being removed, removable, as opposed to ‘kindly’ or ‘rentalled’ tenants who could not be so removed. 1681 Stair Inst. iv. xliii. § 8 (1681) 718.
By our custom moveable tenants, who have not tacks for terms to run, are suspected witnesses
1690 Acts IX. 211/2.
And that thereby many of their neighbours have been forced to renounce their dependence upon their majesties and become moveable tennents to the Viscount of Stormont

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"Movabill adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2023 <>



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