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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.

Honorabil, -able, Honourabil, -able, a. Also: honorabile, -abill(e, -abyll, honowrable, honerabil, -abyle, -able, -arabill. [ME. honorable (c 1330), -abil(l, -abyll, honour-, honerable, etc., OF. honorable, L. honōrābilis.] Honourable, in usual senses.

1. Of persons in respect of character or standing. Also richt honorabil.See also D. Murray Early Burgh Organisation in Scotland I. 164 on the use of this as a form of address or reference to burgh officials.(a) c1420 Wynt. v. 1275.
He wes … in all dedys honorabyll
Ib. viii. 84.
Honorabill knychtis and gret men
1433 Liber Colleg. Glasg. 166.
This endentur maid … betwyx honorabyll and worschypfull men
1448 Stirling Chart. 221.
In the handis of ayn honorabille lord
1523 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 445.
The haill toun … ordanit [two] honorabill men … Lordis of Bonaccord for this instant yeir
15.. Clar. iv. 2414.
Prelatis that war dinge and honorabill
1562-3 Winȝet I. 16/23.
Ane honorabyll persoun of ȝour awin religioun
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxii. 41.
Our antecessouris and fatheris honorabill
1581 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 407.
It sall be lesum to the said James … to depon … the samyn [sum] in the handis of honorabyll men
1629 Annandale Corr. 283.
To the right honorabill my louinge coosin
c1650 Spalding I. 102.
The vther woundis me … , and with me all of that honorabill burde
(b) 1423 Chart. Holyrood 127.
Betuex a reuerend fader … and honorablez men … baylȝes of Edinburgh
c1450-2 Howlat 177.
Abbotis of all orders that honorable ar
Ib. 384.
The Douglas, … that lyne honorable
c1500 Crying of Play 21.
Prowest, ballies, officeris, And honorable induellaris
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xx. 14.
In cumpany cheis honorable feiris
1515 Reg. Privy S. I. 410/2.
A respit maid … to James Earl of Arane … with his honorable howshald, to cum to … Edinburgh
1560 Acts II. 605/2.
That honorable personis be send in ambassat fra … the estatis
a1585 Maitl. Q. xciv.
In commendation of the right honorable Syr Johne Maitland
(c) 1456 Hay I. 175/33.
Ane honourable knycht, lord, or worthy man of armes
Ib. 190/19.
And it war a persone honest and honourable
1606 Birnie Kirk-b. x. 14.
No more should the graue of the godly honourable be profaned
1622-6 Bisset I. 5/17.
Schir Johnne Skene … ane of his maiesties maist honourabill counsalouris of Scotland
(d) 1432 Lamont P. 13.
Betwyx an honerabil man … and his deyr cosyn
c1420 Wynt. viii. 785 (C).
Bischoppis, erlis, and barownys, Honerabil burges
1494 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 583.
[I] lelily and trewly … byndis and oblis me … till ane honerable man
a1570-86 (Dunb.) Maitl. F. iv. 13.
Honerable howshaldis ar laid downe
16.. Foulis Acc. Bk. p. xlvii.
He was a man honerable

b. Used in addressing a person or persons. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 527.
Ȝe auditoris, most honorable, that eris has gevin Onto this vncouth aventur
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lx. 69.
Thair foir, o prince maist honorable, Be in this mater merciable
c 1525 Wemyss Corr. 67.
Rycht honorabil schir and derrest em
1628 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 289.
Honorable and louing brother
1686 Conv. Burghs IV. 63.
I shall never faill to be, right honowrable, your … servant

2. In various contexts.(1) 1405 James of Douglas Letter to Henry IV in Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
Ȝour honorabile lettres to me … contenand that it is well knawin that trewis war tane & sworne
1424 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 14.
We haue ressauit … yhourz honeurablez and graceoux lettrez
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxix. 913.
He … Went to met Sir Placydas … With honorabil processione
c1400 Troy-bk. II. 2683.
Thar bodyis in Thesalye He gart haue honorable erding
c1450-2 Howlat 393.
Thar armes of ancestry honorable ay
1489 Acta Conc. 116/2.
The lordis ordanis that … Patrik haf his honorable sustentacioun of his landis in the mentyme
1537 Wemyss Corr. 5.
We pray ȝow … that ȝe … addres ȝou in ȝour best wys with honorable abilȝeamentis
1540 Acts II. 360/2.
For the honorabill support of his estate riale
1558 Maitland Maitl. F. xvi. 5.
The contract of maryage honorabill Betuix the quenis maist nobill maiestie [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. II. 304/11.
Quhan thay gat most honorable offeris to thair gret honour … thay did it nocht
1619 Edinb. Test. L. 218.
[At my burial] I craiue the honarabill convoy of my honorabill freindis
(3) 1456 Hay I. 83/35.
Mare honourable vertu and lovable
Ib. II. 58/15.
To be at bidding of worthy dedis and honourable
1490 Irland Mir. I. 53/21.
He garris appeire to him that the thing … be gud honorabile, proffitabile
1528 Lynd. Dreme 1074.
Be exampyll to thy peple all, Exersing verteous deidis honorabyll
1533 Bell. Livy I. 60/21.
His recent and honorabil meritis sum parte excusit the offence
a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 30.
Efter he had leuit ane lang honerable lyfe
16.. Hist. Kennedy 32.
Ȝe will do ȝour honourabill dewitty to me
1622-6 Bisset I. 158/28.
Thair calling of advocatioun, quhilk wes anis honourabill

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"Honorabil adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <>



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