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.
Habil(l, Hable, Habile, adj. Also: habyll, haible. (OF. habil(e, hable, L. habil-is. Cf. late ME. habylle (Caxton), e.m.E. habile (1670), and Abill a.]
1. Of persons: Possessed of ability, power, or competence, in various senses.(1) c1420 Wynt. iv. 2493.
Octovyane … , Commendyt off gret douchtynes, … Honest, habyll and avenand 1457 Acts II. 49/2.
Na persounis bot hable and of gud fame 1536 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 78.
[That no-one] be sufferit to set wp buith … without he be fundin sufficient, habill, and wourthy in practik 1578 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 66.
Every ane substantious and habill man 1689 Peebles B. Rec. II. 129.
The toun clerk to conveen the habile burgesses and to proceid in the said electiones(2) 1456 Hay II. 117/14.
Thai men ware mare lyfly, hale, faire, habil and strenthyar a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 33.
Alexander … wes ane hable man of his bodie 1636 Grant Chart. 229.
Tuelf habill fensibill men of the best sort(3) 1456 Hay II. 157/24.
Sum man rude as an as, and sum man bathe subtile and habile as a dyamant 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 13.
Quha beis nocht fund habile salbe deposit to ane lowar classe 1626 Glasgow B. Rec. I. 352.
[To receive the next vacant bursary] he being fund apt and habill
2. Having the necessary ability or qualifications, fit, competent, for, till, or to some function, etc. 1456 Hay I. 267/12.
For quha ever lykis to be a procuratour, sa that he be hable tharfore, may be it Ib. II. 40/11.
To mak men knychtis that war nocht hable till armes 1531 Bell. Boece I. 33 (S.T.S.).
Eftir his deth, the Kingis son sall succede to the crowne but pley, gif he war habill thairto 1535 Stewart 26437.
Euerilk freik [that] was habile for the feild 1576 Edinb. Test. IV. 335 b.
The proffitt of the barnis part gudis to be furth cumand to thame … as thay salbe habill for mariage 1616 Ib. XLIX. 164 b.
The saidis bairnes … to be put to sum craftis and occupaciouns sic as thei salbe maist habill and meit for 1622-6 Bisset II. 251/17.
That na maner of persone set himself furtht for sufficient steirisman, [etc.] … except he be habill and qualyfeid therefoir
b. Able, or competent, to do something.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxvi. 56.
His fadir thane, that saw he wes Habil to cum to gret grace 1456 Hay II. 35/6.
Sik men ar nocht habil to wyn honour in armes 1528–9 Reg. Morton II. 3.
Havand ane sare leg and not habill to endure grete travel in weirfare 1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 127.
That thay may be habyll to teche the faith to utheris 1571 Diurn. Occurr. 221.
To considder … gif the said Matho … wes ane apt and habill man to governe 1602 Colville Parænese Ep. 62.
Euer habill and willing to supplie him … for resauing embassadors 1622-6 Bisset I. 46/16.
Young men … sall sleip on buirdis … to mak thame habill to suffer distres in the kingis wearis(b) a1400 Leg. S. xl. 1433.
To gang hame thu sal hable be one thi fete 1456 Hay II. 13/25.
Sen a man is mare hable till have mare noble curage and to be better na woman 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 10.
That God … wald send the sort apon him that war habliast to exerce that estat a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cx. 51.
Ryche comownis ar rycht profitable, Quhone thai to serve thair lord are hable 1616 Crim. Trials III. 404.
Becaus he was nocht hable to discharge that administratioun … in respect of dyuerse trubbilis and cummoris 1632 Edinb. B. Rec. VII. 107.
Ydill persounes, haill and strong in bodye and haible to worke(c) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 232.
And thai sall baptis ȝow, and mak Habile Cristis kinrik to tak 1511 Lennox Mun. 194.
Say that allwais the airis … sal be lauchfule and habile to succeid … , thai beand maile
3. Of things or animals: Fit or suitable (till, to, for some purpose; also absol.). 1456 Hay I. 283/24.
For it [the colour azure] is … hable till ressave all influences of the planetis Ib. II. 11/28.
Syne thai inquerit quhat beste was … maist hable to mannis service Ib. 121/4.
The kembing of thy hede … thy fyve wittis makis mare hable 1483 Edinb. Hammermen's Seal of Cause.
Gif it be … gud worthi and habil werk to serve the kingis [legis] with 1513 Doug. x. ii. 135.
The fatis sal provyd a way mair habill 1602 Conv. Burghs II. 142.
The skipper sall caus beitt the ship … gif sche may be … maid habill for transporting … guidis 1613 Crim. Trials III. 263.
Altogidder distrusting that thais herbis war hable to do that wiket turne
4. Admissible in law, legally valid. 1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. (1699) 264.
[Witnesses] shall not depon upon any wrong done to themselves. for … it will make them, though otherwayes habil, to be rejected from being witnesses 1682 Decis. Lords F. 17.
[The Lords found] That the comprising upon the bond was not an habile diligence 1685 Ib. 69.
The defunct had delivered up the bond upon his death-bed, yet it not being a habile way to transmit it, it was not a relevant defence 1723 Glasgow B. Rec. IV. 180.
By the deposition of the tenants and other habill witnesses
5. Liable, likely, apt, subject; const. to with inf. 1456 Hay I. 213/25.
Thai war conquestable sen nouthir thai helde of God na of the Empire ... bot habil tilbe conquest be the suerd a1500 Lufaris Compl. 42.
Quhen fortune semys most ... stable, Than to begyle a wicht scho is most hable 1513 Doug. ix. iii. 43.
With mortal handis wrocht … , thir schippis so habill to faill 1534 Bamff Chart. 62.
Quhair throw thair is habile delay discord and pley to ryse betwix him and his saids neighbours a1570-86 Maitl. F. xlv. 58.
He that covatis all is hable all to tyne (a1585 Maitland) Maitl. Q. ii. 75.
Be na dainser for this daingeir, … That ȝe ar habill to waist geir 1587 St. A. Kirk S. 604.
That the sessioun is habill to decay without remaid be providit 1590 Crim. Trials I. ii. 232.
Sche knew be hir devilisch prayer that the said lady wes nocht hable to recover 1606 Edgar Hist. Dumfries Notes 153.
Thair brig habill to decay without tymes remeid
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"Habil adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/habill_adj>