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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).

Sillab, n. Also: -abe, syllab(e, sylabe, sillap, -o(i)p. [Late ME silap(p, sylypp (both c1440), e.m.E. syllab (1509), sillab(e (a1568), OF sillabe (12th c.), L. syllaba, f. the Gk.]

1. A syllable, the unit of spoken language; its representation in writing. a1500 Colk. Sow ii 125.
His … erldome callit Flandria Flan fra the first sillab of Flannislie
1529 Lynd. Complaynt 92.
The first sillabis that thow did mute Was pa Da Lyn
1531 Vaus (1531) 2.
That is of the quhilk the genitiue cais singulare endis in ius be dividit syllabis or in ivs be ane syllabe
1549 Compl. 16/23.
Sum of them tuke pleiseir to gar ane vord … to be ful of sillabis half ane myle of lyntht
a1567 Misc. Bann. C. II 91.
Thys classe sal reid … the maist facil orations, … and the quantiteis of syllabes
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 36b.
Quhan ane vocall is put befoir ane vther vocall spellit togidder completand ane hoill sillabe
1585 James VI Ess. 57.
Question and digestion, it rymes in ques and ges, albeit they be bot the antepenult syllabis
1585 James VI Ess. 57.
Short syllabis … quhilkis are eatin vp in the pronouncing
c1616 Hume Orthog. 16, etc.
The syllab … is a ful sound symbolized with convenient letteres
c1616 Hume Orthog. 17.
Quhen a word fales to be divyded at the end of a lyne … the partition must be made at the end of a syllab
c1616 Hume Orthog. 18.
A labial letter can not symboliz a guttural syllab
c1616 Hume Orthog. 22.
The accent in the fourth syllab from the end; as in mátrimonie, pátrimonie
1629 Boyd Last B. 163.
The godlie and wicked are sibber vnto other in outward shewes than Sirion and Sion are sibbe in syllabes
16.. Rudiments 1b. 1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) i 3.
Lines … Some of eight syllabs, some of ten

b. Used pregnantly of a syllable bearing meaning in its own right. 1513 Doug. Conscience 16.
Fra sci of science wes adew Than left thai nocht bot this sillab ens, Quhilk … singnifies that schrew, Riches and geir
1551 Hamilton Cat. 291.
This sillab fo. betakinnis the leif of the buke

2. A small portion or detail (of something written); the least detail, the slightest part (of a letter, etc.). 1460 Hay Alex. 19348.
Sillabis or wordis heir suppois that I Throw negligence I haue lattin pas by
1531 Bell. Boece I ii.
To bring to lycht … quhare that I haue failȝeit In letter sillabe poyntis lang or schort
1569 Rec. Earld. Orkney 129.
That … nane … suld cum incontrar the smallest syllabe off ony heidis or contentis contenit within the saidis chartouris
c1590 Fowler I 271/9.
These inkblotted lynes and sillabs groue As heade or hand ar by invention led
1591 St. A. B. Ct. 10 July.
The samin tak wes alterit … not onlye ane word or ane silloip of ane word bot [etc.]
1609 Acts IV 422/1.
The direct conformitie … alsweill in the … resemblans of the handwrytt as in the spelling and wryting of euerie wrytt sillabe [Crim. Trials II 288 sillap; State P. (Reg. H.) No. 108/11 sillop] and letter
c1610 Melville Mem. 16.
To com in vnder assurance and promys quhilk themperour brak retenyng the said landgraue captyue vpon the subtilite of a sillabe
1631 Red Bk. Menteith II 141.
If thair be ane sillab vntrew of that quhilk is written
1641 Baillie I 289.
Johnstone, Rothes, Hendersone … did rypelie advyse on all the words and syllabs
1663 Orkney Rentals App. 102.
His majesties letter … faithfullie coltationed with the said coppie, and no sentence, word, or syllab deminished therfrae

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"Sillab n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2022 <>



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