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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Visibill, adj. Also: visibile, wisibill, visibell, vis(s)abill, visable, veseble. [ME and e.m.E. visibil(e (both Rolle), visible (c1383), OF visible, L. vīsibilis.]

1. Visible, able to be seen. b. specif. Applied to the Church as constituted in human society. c. Of an action. 1490 Irland Mir. III 2/1.
The proper way … of knawlage … is first to knaw bodely sensible and visible thingis
Arundel MS 247/255.
Micheall the Archiangell, the quhilk sall keipe me … fra all my innomes visabill & invisabill
Arundel MS 282/113.
1560 Acts II 532/2.
Faith caryis ws aboue all thingis that ar visibill carnall and eirdly
1562-3 Winȝet I 86/23.
Thai call the sensible [MS wisibill] signis of that sacrament [etc.]
1567 G. Ball. 81.
c1550-c1580 Art of Music 8.
All the figuris of nottis [etc.] … beand befoir descryvit. Here in this present table, the essenciallis of tham as in ane visibill murour ar manyfest
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 210.
God, being in himself invisible, when the visible ensign of his presence was seen, He Himself was said to be seen
1595 Crim. Trials II 331.
There isshued blude out of his nose … This wes ane visibill signe of the hand of God
1623 Perth Kirk S. MS 14 May.
The fyre being burnand, without onye meaneis visibill
1685 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II 232.
Quhat can accrew to him by his visible guids and gear
b. 1571 Ferg. Serm. iii Malachi in 1563-72 Ferg. Tracts 72.
The visibill kirk
1573 Tyrie in Cath. Tr. 22/27.
The kirk … is of sic nature, that it is nocht possible, that it be … continewit … onles it be in all agis visible
1656 Ellon Par. 119.
Upon ane referr from the presbyterie [he] wes admitted and entered to the publick profession of his repentene … [and] was receaved again into the visible church
(b) c1590 Fowler II 40/14.
I afferme that our kirkes are veseble, thair doctreine hard [etc.]
c. 1559 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 40.
It schawis the liberale … hart of the doaris thairof, that wald rather spend thair geir … upon sic visible actis
1651 Mercurius Scoticus in Scotland and the Commonwealth 339.
We have had many visible and reall services of late performed by some gentlemen, whom they call malignants

2. transf. a. Apparent to the understanding. b. ? Accessible, able to be made use of.a. 1666 Laing MSS 349.
Glencarn [etc.] … is all wan pie and Selkreg [etc.] … is in an other and Lorn on no visibell on for hee was caled to non of ther mitings, tho hee was hier
b. 1682 Fountainhall Decis. I 203.
That doctrine of visible and invisible estates and of estates accessible to creditors … and estates inaccessible by liferents and other incumbrances

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



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