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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HERITABLE, adj., n. Also †heretable.

I. adj. Capable of being inherited, applied in Sc. Law to that form of property, houses, lands and rights pertaining to these, which goes by inheritance to the heir-at-law, as opposed to Moveable (q.v.) property, personal belongings, and the like, which descends to the next of kin. The term corresponds to real in Eng. Law. Hence, in practice, heritable comes to mean pertaining to houses or lands.Sc. 1702 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1834) I. 124:
They had an heritable right to so much land while they could so much as draw blood, which they [physicians] yet enjoy.
Sc. 1773 Erskine Institute ii. ii. § 5:
All rights connected with or affecting any heritable subject, are also heritable, ex. gr. rights of superiority, tithes, patronage, servitude, and the like.
Sc. 1859 Arbroath Guide (23 April) 1:
The following Heritable subjects, situated in the North side of Bridge Street.
Sc. 1896 W. K. Morton Manual 73:
All land rights properly feudal, and also permanent rights having any resemblance to feudal rights, fell to him [the heir-at-law], — hence termed heritable; while the more perishable estate, termed moveable from its own nature, passed to the next of kin. For practical purposes, however, the term heritable now refers to landed property, and its accessaries.
Sc. 1929 Green's Encyclopedia VII. 566:
Lands, buildings, minerals, and soil in situ, trees, growing shrubs, and turf attached to the soil, and natural crops unsevered, such as grass, are heritable.
Sc. 1952 Sc. Law Times (Sheriff Ct.) 66:
The pursuer is the proprietor of the superiority of certain heritable subjects in Edinburgh.
Sc. 2000 Herald 30 Sep 30:
A key factor in the particular timeshare schemes affected is that the share is sold as a heritable right which can therefore be willed to a successor or simply sold on.

Combs.: heritable jurisdictions, a collective term for various ancient rights attaching to certain lands entitling their owners to hold local courts of justice, which were abolished by the Heritable Jurisdictions (Scotland) Act, 1746. Hence heritable justiciar, one who was in possession of such rights. Hist.Sc. 1746 Acts 20 Geo. II. c. 43:
An Act for taking away and abolishing the Heretable Jurisdictions in that Part of Great Britain called Scotland; . . . and for restoring such Jurisdictions to the Crown.
Sc. 1746 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 214:
By the right honorable William Earle of Sutherland, heretable justiciar of said county &c., and as haveing commission from his Royall Highness the Duke of Cumberland.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian lii.:
Butler entreated him to remember the act abolishing the heritable jurisdictions, and that he ought to send them to Glasgow or Inverara, to be tried by the Circuit.
Sc. 1926 Sc. Hist. Review XXIV. 82:
After the Jacobite Rising of 1745 it was thought desirable to suppress Heritable Jurisdictions — that is, the courts of Heritable Sheriffs, Lords of Regality, and of Barons.
Sc. 2000 Herald 30 Sep 30:
A key factor in the particular timeshare schemes affected is that the share is sold as a heritable right which can therefore be willed to a successor or simply sold on.

2. Pertaining to or connected with heritable property, used esp. in such phrs. as ‡heritable bond, †-band, a personal obligation for a money loan, fortified by a conveyance of land or heritage as security, heritable security, security for a loan consisting of the right of heritable property conveyed by the debtor to the creditor.Sc. 1714 W. Forbes Journal Index 51:
A Bond for Mony to be imployed on Heretable Security, in Favours of Heirs or Assignies, without Mention of Executors, and declared to be Heretable, and noways Moveable thereafter; not rendred Moveable by a Charge of Horning.
Rxb. 1736 Melrose Parish Reg. (S.R.S.) 214:
Application being made by Robert Mercer, weaver, portioner of Newstead, for the loan of £5 sterling, the session condescends to allow him the same upon heretable security.
Sc. 1745 Morison Decisions 14102:
In the month of March 1710, Sir James Campbell of Auchinbreck granted an heritable bond over his whole estate to Ronald Campbell writer to the signet, for the sum of £7000 Scots; upon which the creditor was infeft in September 1710, and the sasine duly recorded.
Sc. 1754 Erskine Principles ii. ii. § 8:
Moveable rights become heritable, from the nature of the superveening security: thus, a sum due by a personal bond becomes heritable, by the creditor's accepting an heritable security for it, or by adjudging upon it.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxvi.:
And the rental book Jeanie . . . de'il a wadset, heritable band, or burthen.
Sc. 1839 Hume Decisions 656:
For the residue, he granted an heritable bond to the five trustees, wherein he bound himself to pay that sum to them, their heirs, executors, and successors.
Sc. 1891 J. Craigie Conveyancing 265:
The Conveyancing Act, 1874, contains the important provision that “an heritable security for money duly constituted upon an estate in land shall . . . transmit against any person taking such estate by succession, gift or bequest, or by conveyance.”
Sc. 1929 Green's Encyclopedia VII. 574:
The forms of heritable security in use in modern practice are the bond and disposition in security, the absolute disposition with back bond, and the real or reserved burden.
Sc. 1946 Gibb and Dalrymple Dict. 139:
The heritable bond to-day is the lineal successor of the “heretable band” of the Act of 1617, cap. 12.
Sc. 1953 Sc. Law Gazette (June) 202:
The faith of the records is a cardinal and distinctive feature of the Scottish law of heritable rights.
Sc. 1955 Scotsman (22 April) 1:
£20,000 and smaller sums to lend on First-Class Heritable Security in Edinburgh.

II. n. In pl.: heritable property, lands and other property which pass to the heir-at-law.Sc. 1888 Encycl. Brit. (9th ed.) XXIV. 574:
Except where there has been vitious intromission in movables, and in gestio pro herede and some other cases in heritables.

[Common in O.Sc. from 14th c. from Fr. heritable, 1206. The word is rare in Eng. before the middle of the 17th c.]

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"Heritable adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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