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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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Semblable, Semlable, Semable, adj., (n. and adv.). Also: semblabill, -ebill, simblable, symblable, semlabill, semelable, semlabilem, symlable, simlabill, -labile, similable, simylable, semabill, semeable, -ible, sembable, sembbable, sembabill, semnable, sambleblie, semball, symbly. [ME and e.m.E. semblable (Chaucer), semble (1449), similable (1493), semeable (1501), semnable (a1661), OF semblable (c1155 in Larousse), semble (13th c. in Wartburg), L. similis; Seme v.]There is a good deal of mixing of forms some of which come directly from OF semblable, some from or via Seme v.

A. adj. 1. Of the same sort, similar.Quot. Ratis R. at (g) below may be an example of Semely adj. with altered sense.(1) 1398 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 40.
The whi[l]k commissairs or other of semblable estat … sal [etc.]
1456 Hay II 134/17.
Efter grete joye or grete victory, or glore of disconfiture of his inymyes or othir wayis semblable
1549 Lamb Resonyng 51/23.
This is provin be Schir Robert Bowis talkin at Haldan Rig … with … vm Inglis-men … as begyning of iniust weir declarit be the justnes of God quha will send ane semblable end of sic ane entirit weir
1563 Acts II 541/1.
That thay mak ane met mesoure and wecht of the foirsaidis stane fyrlot [etc.] … of brasse to remane in the Register that euerie heid burgh … haue the iust mesoure and quantitie of the samin in semblabill mettell
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 105.
And use of cognoscing usit be his predecessouris and him befoir in semblable causes
1576 Argyll Fam. Lett. 14.
Ȝour L. sall haue ws alwayis readie to acquite the same with semblable pleasure
1588 Douglas Corr. 239.
Lyik as my predicessouris hes beine hamlie with ȝour predicessouris … not dowting to fynd semblabill guidwill on ȝour part
(b) 1583–4 Reg. Privy C. III 641.
The said Johnne and David … wer in simblable possessioun of the said sextene dayis fisching
1602 Cal. Sc. P. XIII 958.
(c) 1568 Peebles Chart. 73.
To elect and cheis ane qualifiit man to vse the said prebendarie conforme to the ordour newlie takin in semlabill caces
c1572 Reg. Ministers 51.
Mr. Donald Monro commissionar to plant kirkis in Ross, and to assist the Bischope of Caitnes in semlable planting
1585 Perth B. Ct. 4 May.
For sic annuell rent … as may be … obtenit therfoir in semlabill securitie
1626 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 270.
His governouris continewit in the lyk and semlable possessioun of the said erldome
(d) 1475 Cal. Doc. IV 408.
Quhilkis we suppoise veralie you will do gif similable … redress may be had for youre partii
(e) 1513 Doug. i Prol. 388.
For ‘arbor’ and ‘lignum’ intill our leid To fynd different proper termys twane And tharto put circumlocutioun nane. Richt so by aboutspech oftyn tymys And semabill wordis we compile our rymys
1562–3 Linlithgow Sheriff Ct. 6 March.
Becaus that he hes the landis libellit in tak & assedation … And as ȝit being in possession thairof be semable teilling
a1586 Lindsay MS 65b.
Justice wisdome cheretie … and all vtheris wirtewis sembbable appertene to ane knycht
(f) 1594 Cal. Sc. P. XI 411.
[Next thereto shall be placed a chair for the resident ambassador of England … Fifthly shall be placed next to the ambassadors of England the ambassadors of Brunswick and Mecklenburgh … in] semball [chairs with a table set before them covered with a velvet] tapye
(g) c1420 Ratis R. 1355.
As Arestotyll and Ypocras Has vyting in syk symbly cas
ellipt. 1481–2 Acts II 138/2.
Offerand to haue made … a redres of all attemptatis done agane the trewis … sa that simylable & sic like micht haue bene had
(2) 1460 Hay Alex. 511.
His hed was till ane bull simlabill [: abill]
a1586 Lindsay MS 66.
Gif that quhilk is maid mycht not be defaytit that suld be ane thing semblable to God quhilk is not nor may not defaittit nor distroyit
1590 Melville Mem. 380.
Your hynes prudency salbe best knawen when ye salbe sean to mak gud election of meit persones for euery occupation. For the prince is ay estemed to be semblable vnto tha sort of seruandis as he lykis best to be about him

b. In semblable wys, maner, degre, in like manner, in the same way.(a) 1520 11th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. vi 33.
That we suld gif oure band … to the said lord … and in semblable wyse the said lord … till gif his band till ws
1535 Acts II 342/1.
That all vther the kingis liegis assistaris to sik opinionis be pvnist in semblable wys
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8373.
He hailsit him with all gude reuerence. … His mother als in semblabill degre
1561 Crim. Trials I i 418.
And willand that thai be vsit in semblabill maner in tyme cuming as the inhabitantis of … Dunde
1572 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 253.
Thaj … salbe … comptit in the rank of papistis, to be punist in semblable maner
1582 Perth B. Ct. 20 Aug.
Siclike and semblabill maner as gif the samyn foirsaid haill sowme had bene and wer specifeit
1620 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 297.
In semblable maner as scho and hir said umquhill husband did
(b) 1530 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 340.
I sall caus … dew redres to be maid to thaim … thai doand to me … in semelable maner
1532 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 23.
Redres now beand maid in semlable maner
1551 Reg. Privy C. I 117.
In semlabilem maner to resave the artickillis subscryvit be him
1552 Lochwinnoch Par. 47.
In semlabill maner the said Johnne … sall renunce … all infeftments of alienatioun of ony part of the landis
1558 Acts II 521/2.
Quhilk summondis wes in semlabill maner continewit
(c) 1493 Acta Conc. I 305/1.
As wes in similable wise previt before the lordis
1528 Douglas Corr. 127.
Mony complantis cummys … without randering the sammyn one simlabill maner
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 22.
(d) 1525 Acts II 295/2.
To … be pvnist in semeible wise
1544 Misc. Spald. C. V 296.
And therefore we in sembable maner to be bounding and oblist … to the said Patrick Lord Gray
1545 Elgin Rec. I 85. 1597 Acts IV 147/2.
To enter the tennentis of the saidis landis … in als frie and semeable maner as the said reuerend father was in vs of befoir the said annexatioun
1624 Perth Kirk S. MS 26 Jan.
William Sowtar being incallit … deponit in sembabill maner as the said Kathrine deponit
(e) 1570–1 Bann. Memor. 74.
I … send certaine of my servandis … to have dwng him with ane battone, in semnable maner as he … dung the said Johne

2. Corresponding, proportional, appropriate. 1632 Lithgow Trav. ii 52.
Their … legges [were] of a great growth, not semblable to their age, being but sixe and thirty dayes old

B. absol. as noun. The semblable, = the like, the same. Also (once) the lyke semblable.(1) 1541–2 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 29.
The semblable sall be done for the part of oure souerane
1546 Acts II 473/2.
The quenis grace … sall caus the semblable to be done to Ingland
1559 Edinb. B. Rec. III 36.
Fering that sum rasche and insolent people sall attempt to do the semblable in vtheris townis
(b) 1584 Warrender P. (SHS) I 166.
Sche will … luke for the semelable at our handis quhen the like occasioun may occur
a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 40.
As the lyk and semlable ar writtin in vther histories, in commendatioun and loving of the doaris thairof
(c) 1560–1 Admir. Ct. Bk. (St. S.) 187.
The samyn self actioun or at the leist the simlabile of it is dependand befoir the Lordis
(d) 1547 Reg. Privy C. I 77.
Quhat securite that the ambassatouris … will mak for the sure keiping … of the said pece, the saidis ambassatouris sal haif the sambleblie for the part of Scotland
(2) a1586 Maitland Geneal. Setoun 35.
As the lyke semblable ar writtin in vther histories in commendatioun and louing the doars thairof

C. adv. In like manner, similarly. = Semblably adv.(a) 1533 Boece 35.
That nocht allanerly suld thai leif togiddir vnder ane law bot semblabill thai suld be all of ane name fra his lady Scota
1533 Boece 43b.
As to the iniuris done be Pichtis … , we think thame done semblabill to ws as to ȝow
c1541–2 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 29.
To caus the liegis of the samyn [sc. England] to desist and ceis fra all invasioune of our soueranis liegis as sall be semblebill done be the liegis of Scotlannde
(b) 1516–17 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 82.
The said [erl] Huntle … to do semlable to the said Ergile aganis Donald of the Ilis

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



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