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

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First published 1951 (DOST Vol. II).
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Fensabill, -able, Fensibill, -ible, a. Also: fensabil(e, fenseable, fenc(i)able, fenceabill; fencibill, fenc(e)ible. [ME. fensable (c 1325), fensible (1417), but chiefly Sc. before 1590, reduced from Defensabill.]

1. Of men: Able for defence; fit for, and liable to be called upon, for military service.(a) a1500 Rauf C. 327.
Schir Rolland and Oliuer come rydand the way, With thame ane thousand and ma of fensabill men
1513 Doug. ii. viii. 69.
All the fensabill men of Scyrrya Bownys our the wallis
Ib. vii. vii. 51.
Addres thy fensabill men in thar array
1513 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 143.
That all nychtbouris of this toun, fensabill personis, … pas in thair best aray bodin for weir till our said souerane lordis army
1531 Bell. Boece II. 47.
The princis of Britane … come haistely to Vortigern, with all fensabil pepill under thair boundis
1539 Treas. Acc. VII. 154.
Lettres to proclame wappinschewing, and to noumer the personis fensabill for weris
a1578 Pitsc. I. 262/5.
All his lordis, barrouns, and burgessis, all frie halderis and fenceabill men
1672 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 283.
That the fencable men … be in armes at the buriall … of his corps
(b) c1575 Balfour Pract. 595.
That he incontinent send his horse hame agane with ane runnand boy, and with ane fensibill man
1589 Reg. Morton I. 159.
To conuocat oure liegis … betuix saxtie and saxtene ȝeiris and utheris fensible personis in weirlyke maner
1636 Grant Chart. 229.
Send out tuelf habill fensibill men of the best sort
c1650 Spalding II. 281.
Ilk minister [is] ordanit to give wp to the committee at Abirdene the number of fensibill men … within thair parochin
1666 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 229.
The counsell … ordanes the haill inhabitants fensible persones to muster and conveine in armes in the Links
(c) 1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 15.
The councell … ordaines that euerie inhabitant being ane fencible persone … keip the said nichtlie watch
1689 Montgomery Mem. II. 343.
To call out all the heretors … and fenceible-men
1696 Lanark B. Rec. 259.
The young fencible men quho wer lyable in the last outreik

2. Of arms or armour: Capable of serving for defence. 1471 Acta Aud. 20/2.
[Sixty] personys in fere of were of men of armys, with bowis and vther fensable wapins
1484 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 40.
That all nichtburis … haf thare wauppinis and armis, swerdis, axis, cellattis, and vthir fensable geer, redy besyde thaim in thair buthis and houssis
1522 Ib. 103.
That thai haue besid thame … ane sufficient fensable wapyne, sic as ax, halbert, gedward staf, or siclik
1533 Boece iv. xvi. 154.
The archearis … with speris, axis, and vthir fensabill wapynnys inflictit grevous woundis
1558-66 Knox I. 87.
The soldeouris caist from thame thaire pickis, culveringis, and utheris weaponis fensable

3. Intended or serving for defence or protection. 1513 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 87.
That all man … sal pas … to the linx, to devise thar bastailye and trinchis and uthir fensabile wais, for defence of the towne
1533 Boece iv. xvi. 151 b.
To douchty men hard fechting and armys ar honorabill, richtsua to cowartis thai ar fensabill and maist sure refuge
1532 Treas. Acc. VI. 106.
That all men betwix sexty and xvj ȝeris suld be reddy in fensable maner for weir
1593 Reg. Morton I. 185.
That … we … may be … admittit in the maist fensible and warelyke maner to be about his Majestie
1667 Corshill Baron Ct. 76.
Everie tennent … within the Lairdshipe sall vphold ther yaird dyckes fensible throw the wholl yeer

4. Properly enclosed or protected. 1665 Glasgow B. Rec. III. 65.
If the toune makit ane commoune vennell to consider how the nighburis sall be made fensible

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



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