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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Debatable, Debaitable, a. and n. Also: debatabil(e, -abill, debaitabill, -baittabil(l, -able, debetable, debettabill, -abyll, debitabil. [med. L. debatabilis (1446), older F. debatable (Cotgrave).] .

1. Admitting of debate or dispute.(a) 1443 Ayr Chart. 28.
Ostendande certane articlis and clamys debatabil of thaire fredomys
1466 Acta Aud. 4/1.
The actioune and caus debatable … tuiching the terce of the landis
1485 Peebles B. Rec. 31.
Beand sworne to the deliuerance of the said debatable causis betwix the saidis partiis
1503 Dunferm. B. Rec. 137.
[Thai] promittit … to stand and abid of all actiounis debatable clamit be Vilyam Qvariour
1556 Grant Chart. 120.
The saidis parteis … to cum befoir noyne, and thair accept the … caws debatable
1575 Conv. Burghs I. 44.
The actioun debatabill in the law … , tuyching the pitte custum of … Abirbrothok
1600 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 270.
Commoners for the guid toun in the debatabill mater betuix the toun and barroun of Brochtoun
(b) 1530 Lennox Mun. 233.
Anentis all debaitable actiouns, qwarrellis, and contraverseis betuix the saidis parteis
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 42.
It is no sentence be man debaittabill
1606 Misc. Bann. C. II. 241.
In compositioun of certane materis debaittabill
1684 Corshill Baron Ct. 166.
Both parties referres the matter debaitable to the determinatione of C. W.
(c) 1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 69.
Reporting the state of the said debettabill materis
1570 Prot. Bk. W. Cumming 133.
The decission of the action debettabyll betuix tham
a1578 Pitsc. I. 165/20.
To tak thair pairt in all thingis debettabill betuix them and the Duik of Albanie
1581 Acts III. 231/1.
Considering that the debetable causis … ar not ȝit removit

2. Of lands or boundaries: Forming a subject of dispute between parties; of uncertain ownership.(a) 1425 Liber Melros 545.
The qwylke sayd personis swor … that thai suld lely and trewly … make perambulacion … betwyx the sayd parteis debatabil of the sayd marchis
1446 Reg. Episc. Aberd. 244.
The said chapellanis of the landis debatable … makand knawyn quhat thai clemyt
1484 Acta Aud. *140/1.
To tak inquisicioune … gif the xxxij akiris of the landis of Dron debatable betuix Thomas Walker [etc.] … be of the ferme landis of the Dronn
1493 Acta Conc. 319/2.
The lard of Amisfelde sall cause his officiare … to pynd apoun the commoune that is debatabile
1533 Bell. Livy II. 47/7.
Ane schamefull iugement gevin be Romane pepill on certane doutsum and debatabill landis
1553 Blackfriars Perth 231.
Quhilk parteis sall convene upon the said debatable groundis, … and decide and gif furth thair decreit
1568 Bamff Chart. 102.
At the sowth part of the said moss, mure, myre and landis debatable
1587 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 157.
To march the debateable landis betuixt the landis of Slaynis and Cruden
(b, c) 1531 Bell. Boece I. 162.
Rais gret contentioun betwix the Scottis and Pichtis for certane debaitabill landis, that lay betwix thair realmes
1569 Reg. Privy C. II. 69.
Ather of the saidis partiis … that best knawis the veritie anent the saidis debettabill marches
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii.
Quhither the defender hes any other land in the towne, quhere the debaitable land lyes, or nocht

b. spec. Of land on the borders between Scotland and England, esp. the tract between the Esk and the Sark. 1494 Reg. Privy S. I. 6/1.
The holme callit Kirkcandris holme, with a myle of land nixt about it of the debatabill land betuix us and Ingland
1517 Ib. 454/2.
Utheris … of the clannis of Liddisdale now duelland in the debatable land and woddis
1549 Compl. 74/12.
Sum of ȝou ar becum neutral men, lyik to the ridars that dueillis on the debatabil landis
1552 Reg. Privy C. I. 119.
The inhabitantis [of] the Debatabill land, quha … makis quotidiane reiffis and oppressionis upon the pur
Ib. 120.
The Debatabill ground upoun the West Bordouris
Ib. 125.
The indent maid … anent the divisioun of the Debatabill land, … and the cart maid thairof
1570 Leslie 161.
The king of Ingland … send commissioneris to meit upon the debaittable ground, … bot nathing was done at thair meiting for decyding of the debaitable lande
1590 Reg. Privy C. IV. 800.
Letters to be direct to the schireff of Drumfreis, stewart of Annerdale, coronellis of Drumfries, Eskdale, … and landis sumtyme callit Debatable

c. ellipt. as n. The Debatable Land. 1552 Reg. Privy C. I. 121.
Thair to treit, appoynt, and conclud upon the marchis, methis, and boundis of the said Debatabill
Ib. 122.
The downputting of baith the stane houssis that is biggit upoun the Debatabill

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"Debatable adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Jan 2023 <>



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