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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PEEBLE, n., v. Also †peebel (Rs. 1781 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) 394). Adj. peebly (Edb. 1771 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 5; Sc. 1815 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale 45). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. pebble (Sc. 1725 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 218; Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 82; Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 258; ne.Sc., Slk. 1965). [′pibəl]

I. n. 1. A semi-precious stone, gen. agate or rock-crystal, found in relatively large numbers in streams and rocks in Scot., and freq. set in silver to make a distinctively Scottish type of jewellery (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Combs. peeble-stane, Scots peeble, id. Freq. used attrib.Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife (1803) 140:
Some of these peebles are of a clear and white perspicuous colour, some are like agates.
Abd. 1750 Aberdeen Jnl. (13 March):
Bristol and Peeble set Breast and Shirt Buttons.
Abd. 1762 Ib. (19 April):
There was lost in this Town, a whitish Peeble-Stone, having cut thereon the Coat of Arms of Sir Archibald Grant.
Sc. 1764 Caled. Mercury (22 Dec.) 618:
A Scots peeble in the form of a heart, a gold ring, with a peeble set in it.
Edb. 1798 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (30 May) 169:
Two gold mounted Cairngorum Seals — three ditto ditto oval Peeble Seals — four ditto ditto Peeble Pyramid Seals — fourteen Plain Peeble Seals, with gold swivels.
Mry. 1825 T. D. Lauder Lochandhu Intro. iv.:
Ane o' yere horn mulls, wi' a wee bit silver, and a Scots peeble on the tap o't.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 91:
A cappie fu' o' peeble stanes.
Sc. 1958 Maxwell & Hutchison Sc. Costume 167:
There was a great vogue for “Scotch pebbles” in the middle of the nineteenth century, especially when Queen Victoria showed interest in them.

2. A small glass marble, gen. greenish in colour (Abd. 1910). From its resemblance to 1. above.Abd. 1958 Abd. Press & Jnl. (22 Sept.):
Bools, played round the lamp-post, with rosies, and peebles and picks.

II. v. To pelt with pebbles, stone. This usage may have been derived by Scott from Ben Jonson.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xviii.:
Having pebbled the priest pretty handsomely, they drove him out of the parish.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
When we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o' our ain, we could aye peeble them wi' stanes when they werena gude bairns.

[O.Sc. peeble, 1683. The phonology of the form is obscure, showing one of the many variants, as pibbil, puble, found in Mid.Eng. < O.E. papol-, popel-stan. The Sc. form suggests Early Mid.Eng. *pibel.]

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"Peeble n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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