Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STAB, n.1, adj., v. Also staab, stabb. [stɑb]

I. n. 1. A wooden stake, or post, an upright in a fence or palisade (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc.; a stave in a wooden vessel. Also in combs. stab-gaud, a fishing-line attached to a small stake in the bank of a stream (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); stab-munted, of a gap in a hedge: repaired with stakes (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). See Munt, v.; paling-stab, fence-post (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). See Munt, v.; paling-stab, fence-post (Sc. 1927 J. Millar Scotland Yet 104). Gsw. 1723  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 176:
Twenty six pund for daills and kaibers for weigh house broad and trone feet and stabs to cassiers.
Rnf. 1760  W. M. Metcalfe Lordship Paisley (1912) 48:
For making Stabbs to Inclose part of the Garden.
Rnf. 1805  G. McIndoe Poems 10:
The seat, a stab, the heel-pins rotten.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Annals vi:
The plantations supplied him with stabs to make stake and rice between his fields.
Slg. 1837  Justiciary Reports (1838) 489:
I took a pailing stab, and drove in his skull.
Fif. 1841  Trans. Highl. Soc. 303:
The roof is in the first instance artificially kept up by fir stabs.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 16:
A verra auncient an curious Punch-Bowl made o' oak stabs, wi bress girds on't.
e.Lth. 1903  J. Lumsden Toorle 267:
The stakes — Ca'd ‘stabs,' langsyne — for haudin' up the nets.
Sc. 1953  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 455:
I couldn't see how that hole had been made, unless he'd fallen on a paling stab.

Phrs. (1) stab and ramble, a fencing made of posts and brushwood interlaced, see Rammel, n.1; (2) stab and rice, id., see Rice, n., 3.; (3) stab and stow, completely, absolutely, entirely. Cf. Stick. (1) Dmb. 1753  Session Papers, Buchanan v. Towart (5 Dec.) 1:
The Master should from Time to Time furnish great Timber for the Houses, and Stabb and Ramble for upholding the Dykes.
(3) Sc. 1722  W. Hamilton Wallace x. iii.:
Who set their lodgings all in a fair low About their ears and burnt them stab and stow.
Sc. 1832  Chambers's Jnl. (Dec.) 345:
They'll be roupit out, stab and stow.
Ags. 1853  W. Blair Aberbrothock 60:
The forty-five, that unco time, fan nane cud ca' neither hilt nor hair, stab nor stow, nor yet ane's lugs their nain.

2. The stem or stump of a plant. Also in Eng. dial. Slk. 1829  Quarterly Jnl. Agric. I. 640:
They're gaun wi' the young clover bodily an' they'll no leave a stab o't.

3. A stout thick-set man (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh., Uls. 1971); also of a half-grown cod (Jak.). Gsw. 1863  J. Young Ingle Nook 89:
'Twas just our Rab, The clatty, daidlin', drucken stab.
Sh. 1886  J. Burgess Sketches 30:
He's a stabb o' a sheeld, an' raelly wirks awa' laek a man.

II. adj., from an attrib. use of I.: short, stocky in physique (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Comb. stab-callant, = I. 3. (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Deriv. stabby, stout, stocky; fig. substantial, solid. Jak. gives the form stabbin s.v. stabblin. Ayr. 1805  A. Aitken Poems (1873) 61:
May ye ne'er want guid stabby brose.
Ayr. 1885  J. Meikle Yachting Yarns 84:
A stabby usefu' kin' o' callan'.

III. v. To fix stakes in the ground, to enclose with stakes or posts (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1971). Bte. 1758  Rothesay T.C. Records (1933) II. 823:
The visiteing marking out and stabbing of the ground of the new house to be built.
Abd. 1886  A. Murcar MS. Diary (10 Nov.):
Stowing and stabbing Ricks all day.

[O.Sc. stab, a stake, 1680, a variant of Stob, with a for o, see P.L.D. § 54. Connection with Stab, n.3 is doubtful.]

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"Stab n.1, adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Dec 2019 <>



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