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

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

Nobilité, n. Also: -itee, -itie, -yté, -ietie, -etie, -ety, nobillit(t)e, -itie, -ity(e, -ietie, -etie, nobielietie, nobylyty, nobyl(l)attie; nobelite, -etie, ietie; nobiltee, -tie; nobleté, noblietie. [ME. (Trevisa) and e.m.E. nobylyte, nobilite(e, OF. nobilité (11th c.), nobilté, nobleté.]

1. a. Noble rank or the qualities befitting this; nobleness or dignity of character, pre-eminent worth or virtue.(a) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1101 (C).
As virgyne of such nobilite
1461 Liber Plusc. I. 382.
Floure of nobilite
c1460 Regim. Princ. 96.
Nobilitie suide mel bot with nobilnes
a1500 Colk. Sow Prol. 8.
With namit folkis of he nobilite
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 172/18.
Thar is xij wertuis behuffull and that schawis werray nobilite
1549 Compl. 147/14.
Tha var degradit fra there nobilite ande fra there gentreis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6416. 1567 Reg. Privy C. I. 567.
And utheris lordis of nobilitie
1596 Dalr. I. 96/19.
Of this cumis thair pryd … and bosting of thair nobilitie
Ib. II. 163/16, 17.
Althoch the Duke shewe in this distributione his gret liberalitie and nobilitie of his harte and his gud wil to mitigat the myndes of the nobilitie
1626 Garden Worthies 117.
Thow grave, good knight … That nothing bot nobilitie did breath
(b) c1420 Ratis R. 1584.
That kind has lent To sum lynage ay nobiltee And worschip and prosperyte
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxi. 26.
All gentrice and nobiltie Ar passit out of he degre
(c) 1546–7 Reg. Privy C. I. 63.
We humilie beseik your grace and noble lordschippis for your princelie honour and nobeliteis to [etc.]
a1578 Pitsc. I. 94/13.
To do nothing that was degenerat fre the nobelietie of his forbearis

b. As an honorific mode of address. — 1513 Doug. Direct. 78.
No thing is myne … Gyf it afferis for ȝowr nobilyte
1560 St. A. Kirk S. I. 37.
Besiekand your nobilitie and wysedomes … to pronunce … me to be divorced

c. Of things: Noble quality, dignity, excellence, renown. ?1438 Alex. ii. 4245.
[Caneus said] Ane word of great nobillite [F. une parole de grant nobilité ]
a1500 Seven S. 408.
Our all vther thing lufit he Of armes gret nobilite
1490 Irland Mir. I. 57/24.
The erd and erdlie thingis God has put lawast, as lest of nobilite
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 324.
Full of nobilite is thistory all haill
1596 Dalr. I. 138/16.
And decoret the place quhair the feild was strukne with the nobilitie of the victorie

2. The nobles of a country, etc., collectively; the nobility or peerage.Chiefly with def. art. or possess., and rare before c 1560. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 10/4.
The gret nobilite of Troy as Pryame, Hector [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I. 10/3.
Noble potent lordis, baronis and vtheris quhatsumeuir of the nobilitie of Scotland
Ib. II. 12/20.
Certane of the vnleirnit nobilitie
1558-66 Knox II. 411.
And so the haill nobylattie absolved Johne Knox
1565 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. xlvii. 1566 Argyll Fam. Lett. 5.
And not of the gretast of oure nobilitie
1568 Lyndesay Pref. (S.T.S.) 402.
He hes not spairit King … nobilitie nor vtheris of inferiour estait
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I. 544.
1570–2 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxii.
1572 Cal. Sc. P. IV. 356.
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 233.
The lordis of the nobilitie
a1578 Pitsc. I. 289/11.
All the haill nobelietie batht sperituall and temporall
Ib. II. 106/12.
Aganis money of the nobilietieis will
Ib. I. 8/9.
Ib. 23/10.
Ib. 132/20.
Ib. 366/3.
1603 Moysie 35.
Nobilety, nobeletie
Ib. 128.
c1590 Fowler II. 100/7.
1596 Dalr. I. 105 marg.
Thrie ordouris of therealme, ecclesiastik, nobilitie and the laik sorte
1604 Conv. Burghs II. 182.
c1615 Chron. Kings 167.
Subscrywit be ane grit meangȝie of the nobillity
1647 Misc. Spald. C. I. 55.
Be the nobilite of Angus
16.. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 393.
The inferior nobilitie

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



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