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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.

Marbil(l, n. Also: -byl(l, -bell, -ball, -ble, merbill, -byll, -bell. [ME. (13th c.) and e.m.E. marbel, -bil, -ble, var., by dissimilation, of marbre Marbre n. (Cf. also Marmor.)]

1. The stone, marble.Also black, white, gray marble and Marbill-stane n.(a) c1420 Wynt. i. 246.
The pyllare of marbyll [v.rr. merbill]
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 245/11.
He brocht with him the chiar of marbill
1508 Treas. Acc. IV. 132.
To the Almayn that suld mak the Kingis lair … in marbill
1513 Doug. vi. i. 135.
To Phebus and Diane Of sownd marbill [R. marbyl] tempillis beld may I
1531 Bell. Boece II. 237. 15.. Clar. v. 105.
All paithit wes the hall of marbill whyte
a1568 Bann. MS. 239 b/11.
Turcas topas marbill or margareit
1590 Burel Pilgr. ii. 24.
This temple … The stains thairof wer marbell sound
1678 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 431.
The chimly in marball
1680 Ib. 397.
Black and whyt marbell
(b) c1420 Wynt. iv. 2330.
The pepyll … made off merbyll fyne A pyllar
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 603.
Ane tomb of merbell gray
a 1500 Coll. St. Salvator 162.
Sax alter stanis of calm and ane off merbill
1531 Bell. Boece I. 195.
Ane veschell of merbill, full of uncouth money
Ib. 5. 1594 Argyll Acc. 10 Jan.
For ane bust of merbill

2. A block or slab of marble.Applied to the ‘marble throne’ or ‘Stone of Destiny’ of the Kings of Scots. ?1438 Alex. ii. 8087.
The King sat on the marbill [F. le marbre entaillié] gray
1533 Boece i. ii. 35.
His merbill throne, … this merbill was in maner of ane chyare and … kingis of Scotland, sitting in the said marbill, war crownit
Ib. xi. iii. 405 b.
In the fatail marbill at Scone
1535 Stewart 10126.
The lordis … Syne on the marbell set ȝoung Galdus doun

3. Cloth of mottled colour; cf. 4 b below. 1550–2 Old Dundee II. 313.
Ane piece black, ane piece marble, twa piece carsay

4. Attrib. as adj. a. Made of marble. 1513 Doug. i. vii. 57.
The brassyn durris iargis on the marbill hirst
Ib. vii. x. 50. 1533 Boece i. ii. 35.
Gathele sitting in his merbill throne … to the pepill made … lawis
1622-6 Bisset II. 160/2.
The marbell and fatell seat or chair now in Westminster

b. Of the colour of marble; mottled, like variegated marble.Also marbill gray. 1513 Doug. vi. xii. 15.
The monstreis doith repar Vndre the slekit sey of marbill hew
Ib. vii. i. 7.
Out our the calm streym of marbill gray
1586 Edinb. Test. XVI. 214.
Ane steik of Inglis marbill claytht … price of the ell xlvj s.

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"Marbil n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 May 2024 <>



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