Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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AIBLINS, ABLINS, Yiblins, Eablins, Yeblins, adv. Perhaps. Gen.Sc. [′eblɪnz Sc.; ′jɛblinz + ′jblinz central and w.Rxb.] In quots. chron. order observed. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems, Patie and Roger 224:
But ablins, Nibour, ye have not a Heart, Nor downa eithly wi' your Cunzie part.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems, Drink Eclogue (1925) 55:
Till some auld comerade, ablins out o' place, Near the vain upstart shaws his meagre face.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Address to the Deil xxi.:
O wad ye tak a thought an' men'! Ye aiblins might — I dinna ken — Still hae a stake.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems (1876) II. 103:
Ilk day I hae out thro' to plash, Owre muir an' brae, An' ablins whyles but little cash: Whilk mak's ane wae.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxvi.:
It may feed a hog, or aiblins twa in a good year.
ne.Sc. a.1835 J. Grant Tales of the Glen (1869) 151:
Ye may, aiblins, be the better o' learnin' the secret.
s.Sc. 1873 Murray D.S.C.S. 105:
Eablins or yeblins.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn. 1:
Aiblins, perhaps.
Ayr.2 1881 (1931):
Aiblins: this was a favourite word of my Grandfather (Darvel, Ayrshire), who died in 1881. He pronounced it as Burns writes it — Aiblins, without the Y.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 46:
But hear my dream, for aiblins you May find a way to riddle't true.
Rxb.(D) 1919 Hawick Express (7 Feb.) 4/1:
An' yiblins, when a's said an' dune, They'll juist be hairpin' on yae tune.
w.Dmf. 1925 W. A. Scott Vernac. of Mid-Nithsdale, Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 16:
Aiblins, perhaps. A well-known word, but not in frequent use now.

[From able + -lin(g)s, the s being for is, orig. a genitival inflexion. The suffix -lin(g)s in Sc. as in Eng. forms a number of advs. and adjs. — e.g. blin(d)lin(g)s, adv. The form ablens is found in Older Sc. (A. Montgomerie The Cherrie and the Slae, l. 1099, S.T.S. 1887). Forms of the word occur also in mod. north. Eng. dialects. Aiblins, though in general literary use in Sc., is now obs. or obsol. in actual speech.]

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"Aiblins adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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