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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ILL-GAB, n., v. Cf. Gab, n.1

I. n. Insolent, impudent language (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 87; Cld. 1880 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Kcd., Ags., Per., m.Lth. 1958); power or readiness to use such language (Cld. 1880 Jam.).Sth. 1884 C. Neill Poet. Musings 92:
For weel she kenned she'd played a pliskie Through her ill gab and Bell's bad whisky.

II. v., tr. and intr. To employ abusive language, to abuse (a person). Ppl.adj. ill-gabbit, foul-mouthed, in the habit of using abusive or malicious language (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 87; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Ayr.4 1928; Ags., Per., Fif.14, Ayr. 1955).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 87:
The twa loons ill-gabbit ane anither till a' thocht muckle black shame o' thim.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxiii.:
Till every . . . ill-gabbit mim-moo'ed hizzie had a lick at puir Birsay.

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"Ill-gab n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Jan 2023 <>



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