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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

RAIBLE, n., v. Also raibble (Sc. 1896 Stevenson W. of Hermiston i.); rable (Abd. 1707 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 290), rabel (Per. 1745 T.L.K. Oliphant Lairds of Gask (1870) 128); and deriv. form rabblach (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. rabble. Cf. Reeble, n., v. [‡rebl; rɑbl]

I. n. 1. A disorderly outpouring of words or noises, a rigmarole, an incoherent discourse, nonsensical talk (w.Sc. 1880 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, rabblach; Sh., Ork., Abd., Fif., Lth., Ayr., Wgt., Slk. 1967); in 1912 quot. applied to one who talks in this way. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
A mere rabble o' nonsense.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137:
Ye nivver hard sic a rabblach (or rabble) o' a speech.
Sc. 1870 A. Hislop Proverbs 294:
There's plenty o' raible when drinks on the table.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 71:
He was what the Maister caa'd a “rabble” and, he had the “Thornhill yell,” and his pronunciation was of the “speedert” order.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 45:
What storms or gods . . . May whummle a' oor bonny Babel And lea' it tae the wild beasts' raibble.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
Such a rabblach o' talk.

2. A careless, hurried worker (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137, rabble).

3. A carelessly erected wall, building, etc., a confused or ruinous mass (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137, rabblach, rabble; Sh., Bnff. 1967); anything ruinous or dilapidated, a “wreck.”Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137:
The hoose is unco bare; thir's only a twa 'r three rabblachs o' trees roon't.

II. v. 1. To mob, to assault an individual with overwhelming numbers (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Kcb. 1967); also with out: to drive out or expel by mobbing; specif. hist., used of a hostile demonstration by a congregation against an unpopular minister intruded on them, esp. freq. in the years after the Revolution settlement of 1688–9 in the struggle between Jacobite Episcopalians and Whig Presbyterians. Vbl.n. rabbling, mobbing, expulsion by violence; an uprising.Sc. 1700 Acts Gen. Assem. 30:
This course will prevent the rableing of Messengers by the unruly Mob.
Sc. 1711 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 329:
The principal rablers should appear before the Congregation and be rebuked; . . . the gentlemen should refound all the expense of the prosecution and rable.
Ags. 1714 in J. C. Jessop Education Ags. (1931) 72:
A great many persons outhounded and hired by David Lyndesay of Edzell to mob and rable him.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
There's naething sae gude on this side o' time but it might hae been better, and that may be said o' the Union. Nane were keener against it than the Glasgow folk, wi' their rabblings and their risings, and their mobs, as they ca' them nowadays.
Sc. 1869 R. Chambers Hist. Rebellion 485:
Desecrating the fanes of Episcopacy, and rabbling out its clergy.
Abd. 1887 W. Walker Bards Bon-Accord 113:
Hundreds of curates over broad Scotland had to mourn their “want of bread” through the rabblings and ejectments which followed the Revolution period.
e.Lth. 1893 P. H. Waddell Old Kirk Chronicle 147:
He was not “ejected”, as many ministers were at that time, or “rabbled” out of his parish, as many were in the west of Scotland.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar xlviii.:
Peter McCaskill, the Curate o' Dalry, puir body. He was sorely in fear of being rabbled by the Hill Folk.
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xxviii.:
Rabble the randy! Ay, that's it. Rabble her, afore Middleton comes wi' his sodgers.

Hence deriv. rabblement, a riot, a disturbance; a noisy mob (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Chiefly liter.Dmf. 1731 Gentleman's Mag. (March) 123:
If any Hustrin, Custrin, Land Louper . . . shall bread any Urdam, Durdam, Rabblement, Brabblement or Squabblement.
Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 68:
The rabblement, with fav'ring shout, And clapping hand, set up so loud a din.
Sc. 1821 Lockhart Scott li.:
I have sent John of Skye, with Tom, and all the rabblement which they can collect, to play the pipes, shout, and fire guns below the Captain's windows this morning.
Sc. 1888 Stevenson Black Arrow iii. v.:
This impulse of rabblement was not restrained without a certain clamour of voices.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service R. Cummell 7:
The skreighs o' the rabblement deaved me in my dream.

2. tr. and intr. To utter (a torrent of words), to talk or read hastily and indistinctly, to gabble, to speak nonsensically, rave (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 180; Sh., Ayr. 1967); to repeat by rote, to reel off in a confused manner (Ayr. 1912 D. McNaught Kilmaurs 296). Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence rab(b)ler, one who reads or talks in this manner, vbl.n. rabbling (Gregor; w.Sc. 1880 Jam.); rabblement, incoherent talk (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Also fig.Ayr. 1785 Burns Holy Fair xvii.:
Wee Miller niest, the Guard relieves, An' Orthodoxy raibles.
Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.:
“Try an' mind if there's onything else, John, as lang's ye're sensible”. “I'm awin' Tam Johnson £10 for a coo.” “Oo! never heed that Sir, — he's raiblin noo.”
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 7:
No' to raible ony mair nonsense.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 26:
The puir thing's vera gyte, an' raibles rhymes.
Lnk. 1991 Duncan Glen Selected Poems 34:
and guidit, upstream and doon
till raised new abune the rabblement o the watters
that whisper mony sangs at yince
o past and present.

3. To work in a hasty, careless manner. Also with up, doon, as in 1866 quot. Vbl.n. rabbling, deriv. rabbler, a careless, hurried worker (Gregor).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 137:
“She rabblet an' shewed the bit jacketie in o' ither.” With the preposition up, to build in a hurried, unstable manner. With the preposition doon, to throw down in a confused, hasty manner.

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"Raible n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Aug 2022 <>



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