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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AIBLINS, ABLINS, Yiblins, Eablins, Yeblins, adv. Perhaps. Gen.Sc. [′eblɪnz Sc.; ′jɛblinz + ′jɪ̢blinz 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.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 14:
It's aiblins daft, this ploiter o pursuit
owre bitter acres whaur the braith micht freeze, ...
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 21:
A bonnie exhibition for a King
tae mak, loupan owre the cassies
daein the Hieland Fling
like a muckle gowk. The lassies
aiblins thocht ye braw - ye widden
heidit feckless redeless randy.
Sh. 1991 William J. Tait in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 46:
Hamebound in a founert bus at stiggs an byocks,
Aiblins at its ain wersh waa-geng o swats an sweit,
Slk. 1991 Harvey Holton in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 133:
Aiblins abune still; fer-bye fechtan,
fer-bye fleean, he gaes gaitward
fuitless fuitsteids giean girth
tae Bran's back:
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
Aiblins ye'll try a canny keek oot the pane
Dichtin the gless wi yer thoum

[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 13 Apr 2024 <>



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