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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STIBBLE, n., v. Also stible. Gen.Sc. forms and usages of Eng. stubble, the stump of a corn-stalk, the bristles of the beard, etc. See P.L.D. § 61. [stɪbl, rare in Sh.]

I. n.

Sc. form of Eng. stubble. Also attrib. m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 9:
At Berwick
the stookies is aw upliftit
an stibble fires burn rounaboot
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 2:
Chooks sunken like the craters o the meen;
A stibble growth; ringed nichtmares roon his een,
A wastit druggie hyters doun the street:
Sic hurts thon beeny shadda's kent - an gien.

Sc. usages:

1. Freq. attrib. in combs.: (1) stibble-butter, butter made from the milk of cows grazing on stubbles after harvest, supposed to be the best for salting (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.; n.Sc., Per., Slg., Arg., Lnk., Wgt., Dmf. 1971); ¶(2) stubble-end, fig., the backside, posterior; (3) stibble-field, a field of stubble; (4) stubble-goose, the grey-lag goose, Anser anser (Hdg. 1867 W. P. Turnbull Birds E.Lth. 28), which arrives after harvest; (5) stubble-grun, the stubble of the first crop of corn after grass (Arg. 1937); (6) stibble-han(d), the side of an uncut ridge on the harvest field next to that previously cut; (7) stubble-hen, the partridge, Perdix perdix; (8) stibble-land, = (5); (9) stibble-park, a field after the crop of corn has been cut (ne.Sc. 1971); (10) stibble-rig, (i) a ridge of stubble left after harvest; (ii) the leader in a team of reapers, the one working on the stibble-hand (see (6) above) (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (11) stibble-ruckie, also stibble ruck (Abd. 1990s), a small model rick made by children from the stubbles while the corn is being stacked (Abd.13 1910); (12) stibble-stub, the stump of the cut cornstalk left in the ground; (13) stibble-win, -wund, of a reaper: to cut ahead of (his neighbour on the next ridge), commonly in ppl.adj. stibble-wundit, (see quot.). See Win, n.2(1) Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller xiii.:
The best stubble butter takes langest o' churning.
Ayr. 1867 Trans. Highl. Soc. 83:
Readers of newspapers frequently see butter advertised under the name of “stubble butter” and as of extra good quality.
Dmf. 1937 T. Henderson Lockerbie iii.:
After the cauves were speaned and the cheese made, folk made their stubble butter, an' sauted and stored it in pitchers tae ser' them through the winter.
(2) Mry. 1826 J. Ruddiman Tales 271:
My stubble-end, as the grieve of Shirratoon named it, was never made for saddles.
(3) Ayr. 1786 Burns To a Daisy iv.:
Thou . . . adorns the histie stibble field.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 57:
The dykes I lap, an' cross'd the stibble fields.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde & Tweed 9:
The stibble field, wi' the dew-draps wet.
(6) Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 21:
For he shoor on the stibble han' Wi' Lizzie frae the ha'.
(7) Ayr. 1828 D. Wood Poems 149:
Then up there sprung a stubble hen: My master fast his gun did ben'.
(8) Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 123:
Spreadin' owre the stibble land, To glean the scatter'd ears.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xi.:
“The stibble lan', likein'?” “Ay, ay, stibbles.'
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 37:
Now beat the stibble-laund wi' glee.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 74:
We're dungin' a' the stibble land we can.
(9) Abd. 1945 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 378:
On the ploo'd enriggs o' the stibble park.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 6:
The hinmaist bale duntit doon atap the bare stibble park tae be forkit onno the wytin cairt bi the auld fairmer o Blaefauld.
(10) (i) Ayr. 18th c. Burns Merry Muses (1911) 86:
A stibble rig is easy ploughed.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 128:
They douce her hurdies trimly Upo' the stibble-rig.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 1:
In the stibble rigg the plough is streakit.
Kcb. 1900 R. J. Muir Mystery Muncraig xx.:
He'll have got all the stibble-rigs plowed.
(ii) Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween xvi.:
Our Stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen, A clever, sturdy fallow.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 154:
Stible-rig's tup-horn was dippit Slap-dash, the laughin kirn in.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 21:
Stibble rig an' histy lee.
(12) Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 36:
To leave nae stibble-stubs unhappit.
(13) Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 180:
In cutting down grain, one is said to be stibble-wundit when his neighbours in kemping, or striving, cut down the grain on each side of him, so as to pass him on the rig, or get before him and cut down in his direction, so that he has nothing but stubble on either side, as well as before him. Thus the wind blows over the stubble towards him on all hands.

Adj. stibbly, like stubble, covered with stubble; fig. bristly, of a man's beard (Sc. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc., Slg., Lth., wm. and s.Sc. 1971); of the legs: thin, spindly, transf. in 1823 quot. of the piers of a bridge.Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 130:
O'er the stibbly plain, the nibbling rooks, In numbers spread.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 88:
At boards of ice, when seen afar, I've set my stibbly legs aspar.
Abd. 1891 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) XIV. 200:
Gin yer bairds be owre stibbly For Sabbath day's sicht.
Abd. 1921 R. L. Cassie Doric Ditties 23:
Some stibbly birse a' roon his chin.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 42:
I the blue an siller mornan licht,
wi white rime skinklan
bricht i the stibbly field,
I taen a roch an stany brae
tae the hill whaur
the twice-owre teuchat gret.

2. Fig. in phr. to gather stibble, of a drinking-vessel: to collect or accumulate the last dregs after being drained. Cf. v., 2.Fif. 1845 T. C. Latto Minister's Kail-yard 12:
His tumbler toom'd to hindmost dribble, An' e'en begun to gather stibble.

II. v. 1. (1) To cover with stubble, to leave stubble on (a field) after harvest.Ags. 1894 A. Reid Sangs 65:
The guidman strade the stibbled lea.
Lnk. 1916 W. Wingate Poems (1919) 92:
Highways for wheel and whip, Till rigs are stibblet clear.

†(2) Agent n. stibbler, (i) a harvest-hand who follows the reapers to cut and gather up odd straws, a gleaner (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (ii) a horse turned out after harvest to feed on stubble; (iii) a probationer in the Presbyterian church who has not yet been appointed to a settled charge and who preaches here and there where his services may be required (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Freq. in phr. a stickit stibbter, of one who consistently fails to be called to a regular ministry (Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xlvi.), orig. a fig. use of (i). The explanation given by Jam. in quot. under (ii) is not corroborated and hardly tenable. Also attrib.(i) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 7:
Not the long tending Stibbler at his Call, Not Husband-man in Drought when Rain descends.
(ii) Sc. 1808 Jam.:
These horses are denominated stibblers. In former times it was reckoned allowable for a person to take one of them, and ride him for a few miles, without asking the leave of the owner, or paying any hire. Hence, it is said, a Preacher received this designation, as he might be employed by any minister, who needed his assistance; and little to the credit of these times, the slightest consideration for his services was rarely accounted necessary.
(iii) Mry. 1765 Session Papers, Dalrymple v. Gordon (31 Jan.) 3:
He had continued many years a stibbler, without any prospect of procuring a settlement.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
The warst stibbler that ever stickit a sermon.
Abd. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 58:
That sticket stibler body, the dominie.
s.Sc. 1837 Wilson's Tales of the Borders III. 83:
When the puir stibbler was prayin.
Edb. 1884 R. F. Hardy Glenairlie ii. i.:
He's come to be the stibbler here . . . the minister's helper, as it were.
Fif. 1901 G. Setoun Skipper Barncraig xxiv.:
“You brainless stibbler,“ he flung out.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 85:
Maister Strong, the student, was a 'prentice stibbler.

2. Fig. To drain (a glass of liquor), to finish off (a drink) all but the dregs. Cf. I. 2.Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 11:
A half-mutchkin near his haffit Stood stibbled by.

[O.Sc. stibyll, stubble. 1513, O.Fr. (e)stuble, id.]

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"Stibble n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Jun 2023 <>



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