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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLAB, BLEB, BLABE, BLEIB, Bleeb, v.1, n.2 Also blybe. [blɑb, blɛb, bleb, bləib Sc.; blib, blib, bleb Rxb.]

1. v.

(1) To cause the face to swell with weeping. Now obs. in St.Eng., only Eng. quot. 1601 (N.E.D.).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 149:
A Dutchess on her Velvet Couch reclin'd Blabs her fair Cheeks till she is almost blind.

(2) To besmear, beslobber (with dirt, food, etc.); to besprinkle (e.g. with dew).Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. blob:
We still say that clothes are blabbed or blebbed, when stained with grease' or any thing that injures them.
Abd.2 1934:
Noo ye maunna bleb an' blad that braw peenie ye've gotten on.
Ags. 1879 T. Ormond in A. L. Fenton Forfar Poets 141:
Her Sunday goun below the chin Was blabbed an' bleared wi' toddy, O.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 177:
O wildly there the blue-bells hang Their cups a' blabb'd wi' dew.

2. n.

(1) A drop of moisture, a bubble, a blot. N.E.D. gives blab, a bubble, as obs. except dial.Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. blob:
A blab of ink.
Bch. 1924 J. Wight in Scots Mag. (Oct.) 59:
Porridge, which throws up “blabs” or bubbles, which burst and emit steam.
Ags. 1894 A. Reid Sangs o' the Heatherland 20:
O flow'ret, bloomin' a' alane, Wi' een sae fu' o' bleibs o' dew.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 13:
You've seen the summer mornin', lads, Come lauchin' ower the lea' An' lichtin' up the blabs o' dew In ilk wee gowan's e'e.
Rnf. 1836 R. Allan Poems and Songs 15:
An' whan at morn the blabs o' dew Clear as the siller hang.

(2) A blister. N.E.D. gives blab, a blister, as obs. except dial., and bleb, a blister or small swelling, in use up till 1876. Of bleb, small blister, Un. Eng. Dict. says “rare.”Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Bleib. A pustule, a blister. “A burnt bleib,” a blister caused by burning.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Blabe (n., nw.). A blister; a pustule. ‡Bleeb (n., w.). Also bleib (ne., s.). A blister on the skin, as by burning.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
Blab. A raised blister.

(3) “Bag of a honey bee” (Bnff.7 1920).Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
A bee's blab, the little bag of honey within the body of a bee.

(4) In pl.: a rash; chicken-pox (Ork. 1975).Sc. 1712 Atholl MSS. (23 Aug.):
My Lord has had the blybes it is an outstryking something lyk the small pox, but does not keep so long out.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
A single-end
in a waalie close,
wi mirle, sclaffert, bleibs,
and a kirkyaird hoast.
Lth., Border 1808 Jam.:
Bleibs. An eruption to which children are subject, in which the spots appear larger than in the measles.
Gsw. 1775 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. (1864) 206:
The sma'pox, the nirls, the blabs (nettlerash), the scaw.

(5) A blow.Mry.4 1935:
I'll gie ye a blab on the mouth.

[Imitative in origin. Cogn. with O.E. blāwan, to blow, hence to swell up, etc.]

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"Blab v.1, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Mar 2023 <>



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