Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
COBLE, Cobble, Cowble, n.2 [kɔbl, kobl Sc., but s.Sc. + kʌubl, kubl]
1. A small flat-bottomed rowing boat, used mostly in river or lake fishing, or for salmon-fishing by net near the coast. (The Eng. coble, used mostly off the north-east coast of Eng., has a rudder extending four or five feet below the bottom, three pairs of oars, and is used only for sea-fishing.) Gen. salmon cobble. Given by Watson in Rxb. W.-B. (1923) as obsol. in form cowble. Also attrib. Gen.Sc.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore of N.-E. Scot. 146:
In going past a salmon cobble in the harbour, a fisherman would not have allowed his boat to touch it. Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 137:
A skull o' herrings thick, Amid whase millions, flikkerin' quick, His coble seems to stand and stick. Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 137:
The river taking a sudden bend, broadened and deepened into a wheel, on the breast of which, a salmon cobble, or currach swam.
2. “A ferry boat, ferry” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6 Add.; Bnff.2 1936). Used fig. in quot.
ne.Sc. 1883–86 D. Grant Chrons. of Keckleton (1888) 6–7:
I've seen my three-score an' ten years, an' anither half-score to haud them hale wi'; sae I am content to tak' staff in han' an' try the crossin' o' the Jordan by sic fords or coble as may be granted me.
3. Phrs.: (1) net and coble, (a) a method of fishing usual in tidal rivers, the stream being swept with a net one end of which makes a circuit with a coble, the other being held by a man on the river bank; the term is in use only in connection with the legal rights necessary for employing this method of fishing (Abd.16); †(b) the symbols of seizin in fishing; (2) to keep the coble head doun the stream, to take the easiest course.
(1) (a) Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley (1817) xlii.:
The rights of net and coble in the water and loch of Veolan. (b) Sc. 1754 J. Erskine Princ. Law Scot. (1903) ii. iii. § 17:
The symbols by which the delivery of possession was expressed were: — for lands, earth and stone; . . . for parsonage teinds, a sheaf of corn; . . . for fishings, net and coble. (2) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xlii.:
He was no ill friend to our folk when he could protect us, and far kinder than Basil Olifant, that aye keepit the coble head doun the stream.
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"Coble n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/coble_n2>
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