Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BIRKEN, adj. and n.

1. adj. Made of, consisting of, pertaining to birk, birch. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 42:
His legs they loos'd, but flighter'd held his hands, An' lasht him hame before wi' birken wands.
Ags. 1826  A. Balfour Highland Mary I. x. 213:
Flunky Tam sat hiddlings behind a birken-buss.
Edb. 1801  J. Thomson Poems 94:
An' fareweel a' ye birken bow'rs.
Bwk. 1879  W. Chisholm Poems 22:
When I open'd my een the fairies were gane An' I lay i' the birken shaw my lane.
Rxb. 1901  W. Laidlaw Poetry and Prose (1908) 6:
Down in the woodland glade, Under the birken shade.

2. n. Birch tree. Adj. used as n. Abd. 1923  B. R. M'Intosh Scent o' the Broom 12:
I'll link it my lane ower the dew-dabbled heather, And bide 'neath the birkens doon-bye.
Ags. 1897  C. Sievewright in
A. Reid Bards of Angus and Mearns 411:
The sweet-scented birkens are leafless and naked.
m.Lth. 1882  C. Neill in
Edwards Mod. Sc. Poets, IV. 204:
Sweet in the birken the mavis is singing.

[For form cf. wool, woollen, woollens. O.Sc. has birken, birkin, adj. (see D.O.S.T.).]

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"Birken adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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