Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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JABBLE, v., n.2 Also jaible (Lnk., Ayr., Kcb. 1959), jebble (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 30). Cf. Jibble. [dʒɑbl, dʒebl, dʒɛbl]

I. v. 1. tr. and intr. To agitate a liquid so as to cause spilling, to splash (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 60; Cld. 1880 Jam.; Ant. 1892 Ballymena Obs.; Mry.1 1925; Ork., Cai., Mry., Ags., Knr., m.Lth., Ayr., Gall., Uls. 1959). Vbl.n. jabblin, a splash, gen. in pl. drips (Ork. 1958 Ork. Herald (25 Feb.)). Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 27:
We had nae jabblin thing like scaud ava to sipple wi.
Dmf. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 145:
The milk jabbled sae, wi' his rinnin, that it was like to flee out o' the stoup.

2. intr., of the sea: to become choppy, e.g. when the wind rises or at the meeting of tides (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Cai., Kcd., Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1959). Hence jabbled, agitated, stormy (Sh. 1959). Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 399:
The air, or ocean's jabbling tide.
n.Sc. 1887 G. G. Green Gordonhaven Intro.:
The Gordonhaven men would . . . from its jabbled waters oft return with a goodly catch of prime haddocks.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxv.:
They came through jabbled water to the ship that strained upon her cable.

3. Fig. To confuse, jumble. Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 30:
He should jabble the joodgment an confoond the sense, an set us a' wunnerin whut he's on aboot.

II. n. 1. A shaking of a liquid, a confusion of a liquid and its sediment. Gen.Sc.; esp. a weak watery mixture, of tea, soup or the like (Abd. 1808 Jam.; Cai., Bnff., Abd., Kcd., m.Lth., Ayr., Gall., Uls. 1959), “a mixture spoilt by being tossed about” (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 75). Also reduplic. forms jeeble-jabble (Ib.), jipple-japple. Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 211:
While Meg sair'd them first wi' some jabble To groun' their wame.
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes xxv.:
We're no like you — forced to lat ower . . . ony jabble o' luke-warm water.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 60:
When a larger quantity is spoken of, jabble is used.
Bnff. 1925 G. Cumming A'anside Lilts 32:
I mind it weel, 'twas thick as cream, Nane o' your jipple-japple.

Hence jabbloch, jabblick (Gregor), “weak, watery, spirituous liquors” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 281), “any weak liquid like tea or gruel” (Kcb.4 1900, Kcb. 1959).

2. A ripple on the surface of water; a choppy sea, esp. that caused by meeting of tide and wind from opposite directions (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 281; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Ork. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. Cf. Chabble. ne.Sc. 1862 Fraser's Mag. (Feb.) 156:
I've seen them [Eskimo boats] dancin' thro' the jabble . . . as skeely as a loom or a deuk.
Fif. 1884 G. Bruce Reminisc. 239:
Only a light N.E. breeze, with a slight “jabble” on the water.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar xxi.:
Everything creaked and tumbled in the dancing jabble of the cross seas.
Bwk. 1901 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XVIII. 131:
Aye, it needs a jabble on the waiter to gar the poos creep.
Cai. 1940 John o' Groat Jnl. (23 Feb.):
'Ere's a jabble 'boot 'e shore.
Arg. 1952 N. Mitchison Lobsters on the Agenda v.:
There would have been a bit jabble beyond the harbour, not much surely, but enough to scare a right landsman.

3. Fig. Confusion, agitation (Per., Slk. 1959); esp. of speech, an incoherent muddle (Sh. 1959). Fif. 1894 D. S. Meldrum Margrédel 101:
There was a terrible jabble of emotions.
Per. 1896 I. MacLaren Kate Carnegie 307:
Carmichael's mind was in a “jabble” that day.

[Freq. of Jab, v., n.]

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"Jabble v., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jan 2022 <>



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