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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Habilitie, -ité, n. Also: habillit(t)ie, habilietie, habiletie, habilitté. [e.m.E. habilitie, ME. habilite, habylite (Lydgate), OF. habilité, -eté., L. habilitas. Cf. Abilitie n.]

l. Suitable or sufficient power or skill; aptitude, capacity, proficiency. c1530-40 Stewart Bann. MS. 216 b/18.
To gloir humane thai [ladies] mak habilitie
1567 Acts III. 13/2.
Vnderstanding that be ressoun of his tender ȝouth he is not of habilitie … to administrate … as equytie requyris
a1578 Pitsc. I. 133/17.
Edwart … in bewtie more excellent and abone all men in strangnes and habilietie
1593 Acts IV. 43/1.
To … elect ane … or ma personis of best habilitie, zeale and discretioun
1622-6 Bisset I. 159/14.
Quha befoir they be harde to gif in thair petitioun … , salbe haldin to gif sum pruif of thair habilitie (to be advocates]

b. Pecuniary power, means, resources. 1558-66 Knox II. 218.
The habillitie of thair parentis to sustene thame in thair selvis and nocht to burding the common wealth with thame
1587 Conv. Burghs I. 252.
The habilitie and presentt inhibilitie of the saidis burrowis dewlie … considerit
1590 Coll. Aberd. & B. 191.
Thrie, four, fyve, or tua [inhabitants] to furneis ane hagbutter … according to the habiliteis of the furneisaris
1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 21.
That everie on, according to his habilitie and power may bear a proportionall pairt of the said burden

c. The legal competence (of a witness). 1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. 527.
What time is considered in the hability of a witness

2. a. A faculty or accomplishment. 1456 Hay II. 16/24.
To exercise wapnis, and othir habiliteis of honour quhilk appertenis to nobles
Ib. 23/25.
When a knycht has all strenthis and habiliteis that appertenis to the corps, and has nocht thame that appertenis to the saule

b. Physical power or capacity. 1591 Crim. Trials I. ii. 249.
Be strykeing of him ... with ane extraordinar diseis, be taking of the power and habilitie of his rycht syde arme and leg fra him

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"Habilitie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Feb 2024 <>



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