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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).

YABBLE, v., n. Also yable-, and, with alternative freq. ending, yabber. [jɑbl]

I. v. 1. intr. To talk in a voluble or excited way, to chatter, gossip (Fif. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc.; occas. tr. to say or utter in a confused or garbled manner, to rattle off. Also fig. Vbl.n. yabblin, chatter, voluble talk.Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin ii.:
A half dizzen o' female tongues that gaed yabblin' a' throughither.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xi.:
There was a general clustering about him as Samie yabbled out the particulars.
Bnff. 1887 W. M. Philip Covedale v.:
A heap waur nor onything that has been yabbered against Mr. Lichton.
Ags. 1890 Arbroath Guide (4 Jan.) 3:
I heard an awfu' yabblin' o' tongues.
Gsw. 1910 H. Maclaine My Frien' 97:
M'Callum, the schulemaister, was yabblin' awa' wi' his Frenchie kind o' words.
Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 277:
The kin o' shangabbit wey thae wad-be's yabble.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 57:
And O! I canna thole Aye yabblin' o' my soul.

2. intr. To speak in a peevish scolding way, to nark, be querulous (Lth. 1825 Jam., Lth. 1974). Vbl.n., ppl.adj. yabblan, yabblin, wrangling, altercating (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 212).Edb. 1922 “Restalrig” Sheep's Heid 39:
There Kirsty sat, e'ein' me like a tiger, an' yabberin' at me a' the time.

3. Of animals: to chatter, gobble, bark, etc. excitedly (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 212, of dogs; Ork., Abd., Ags. 1974). Hence agent n. yabler.Clc. 1901 “Old Boy” Remin. Dollar Acad. 48:
An outpost of these cacklers and yablers sounded the alarm.
Abd.1 1929:
The bubblyjocks war yabblin for their supper.
Sc. 1934 A. Fraser Herd of the Hills ii. ii.:
They were telling Mary how it was a parcel of yabbling monkeys they thought they had fallen amongst.
Abd. 1964 J. C. Milne Poems 156:
The heron gey sma' Yab-yabblin awa'.

II. n. 1. A noisy clamour of voices (ne., em., wm.Sc. 1974); a dog's barking (Abd. 1974); wrangling, altercation (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 212).Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 204:
And than sic skellochin' and shout, Was never sic a yabble!
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 212:
The dog ga' [a] yabble it gart me jump.

2. A garrulous person, a chatterbox (Abd., Ags. 1974). Dim. yabblock. id. (Cld. 1880 Jam.).

[Freq. form of Yabb.]

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"Yabble v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Aug 2022 <>



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