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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STABLE, n., v. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. Combs.: (1) stable-fee, a payment or gratuity given for stabling a horse; (2) stable-meal, food and drink consumed in an inn on market days by farmers in return for the stabling of their horses during the day.(1) Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 199:
I accompanied him to the “Brown Cow” to partake of his stable-fee.
(2) Ayr. 1786 Burns To his Auld Mare viii.:
When thou an' I were young and skeigh, An' stable-meals at fairs were dreigh.

2. The part of a bog in which a foundered horse is trapped (Sc. 1818 Scott Antiquary Gl.). See II. 2.

II. v. 1. As in Eng.: to provide accommodation for horses. Hence stabler, n., one who does this, a public stable-keeper (Abd. 1703 Burgh Rec. Abd. (B.R.S.) 332; Edb. 1746 Reg. Marriages 1701–50 (S.R.S.) 445).Edb. 1722 Defoe Colonel Jack (1949) 127:
The stabler (so they call the people at Edinburgh that take in horses to keep).
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize v.:
The chief vintner, horse-setter, and stabler in the town.
Abd. 1847 Bon-Accord Directory 41:
Brown, Alexander, vintner and stabler, 8 North Street.
Sc. 1902 P. H. Brown Hist. Scot. II. 446:
At such inns as there were there was no accommodation for horses, which had to be bestowed with some neighbouring stabler.

2. In ppl.adj. stabled, of a horse: stuck in a bog. This usage appears to be an archaism noted by Scott from some 16th or 17th cent. source. See N.E.D. s.v. Stable, v.3Sc. 1818 Scott Antiquary Gl.:
If a horse is foundered, he is said to be stabled for the night.

[O.Sc. stabular, stable-keeper, 1508, stabill fie, 1556.]

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"Stable n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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