Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BAB, n.1 A Sc. form of the Eng. dial. bob. See P.L.D. § 54. [bɑb]

1. A posy or nosegay of flowers; a tassel or bunch of ribbons. Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxiv.:
A cockit hat with a bab o' blue ribbands.
Sc. 1908 W. Wingate in Glasgow Ballad Club III. 159:
Wi' a cane in his han' — in his button a bab — What d'ye think o' our Sandy Macnab?
Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems and Songs 20:
Bloomin' on the ryegrass meadows Babs o' clover-flowers were seen.

2. Combs.: (1) bab o' a' the boon, the finest and best-dressed lass or lad among the boon or band of shearers; (2) wooer-bab, a garter at the knee with two loops, worn by a suitor as a proposal of marriage. (1) Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 21:
For he shoor on the stibble han' Wi' Lizzie frae the ha', Wha shene the bab o' a' the boon, She was sae buskit braw.
(2) Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween iii.:
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs Weel knotted on their garten, Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs Gar lasses hearts gang startin.

[Cf. Gael. pab, tassel, refuse of flax or wool; babag, baban, a tassel.]

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"Bab n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2021 <>



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