Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BREID, Breed, Bred, n. Sc. forms corr. St.Eng. bread. The following meanings are exclusively Sc. and the form bread is illustrated only where the usage differs from that in Eng. [brid I.Sc., but Sh. + brɛd, n.Sc., em.Sc.(b), wm.Sc., sm.Sc., s.Sc., Ant.; bre1d w.Ags.; bred em.Sc.(a); brɛid, breid Cai.]

1. A roll or loaf; “the term is still vulgarly used by bakers in this sense” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, breid, bred). Obs. in St.Eng. since 1643 (N.E.D.). Sc. 1705  Account Bk. Sir J. Foulis (S.H.S. 1894) (13 April):
For a pynt of whyt wine and a bread.

2. Oatcake (Cai.7, Bnff.2 1935). Abd. 1904  W. A. G. Farquhar Fyvie Lintie 23:
Quoth the maiden — “Gin it sets me Bakin' bannocks, scones and breid, Nae ane ever fauts or frets me Ower the heids o' comin' speed.”
Abd. 1935 2 :
Will ye hae loaf or breid tae yer egg, laddie?

3. Phrases: (1) in bad bread, — breed, out o' bread, (a) in want; out of work; (b) in disfavour. Gen.Sc.; (2) in better bread, either in greater favour or in more comfortable circumstances (Ags.1 1935). (1) (a) Sc. 1825  Jam.2, s.v. bread:
To be in bad bread, to be in a dilemma, or in an evil taking. It seems to have been originally restricted to short allowance.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie xiii.:
It's my notion they were play-actors out o' bread.
(b) Edb. 1876  J. Smith Archie and Bess 31:
I'm sorry to think puir Geordie's in sic bad breed wi' his maisters.
(2) Mearns 1819  J. Burness Plays, Poems, etc. 146:
An' e'en though Charlie shou'd succeed, He'd be in little better bread. [This special usage prob. arose as follows: bread, article of food, food in general, abundance or scarcity of food as an index of degree of comfort in life and hence good or bad fortune, luck, favour.]

4. Combs.: (1) breid and cap, pollen and nectar, honey; (2) bread-and-cheese, (a) “the green shoots just appearing on a hedge in early spring” (Fif.10 1935; Ayr.4 1928; Kcb.1 1935); common also in Eng. dial.; (b) “the inside of the thistle head” (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2 1935; Ayr.4 1928); (3) breed-backit, -backet, bread box; also fig. = stomach; (4) bread-berry, “bread broken up into small pieces with hot milk poured over it” (Abd. 1935 (per Bnff.12); Fif.10, Lnl.1, Lnk.3, Ayr. 1935 (per Kcb.1)); (5) breed man (see quot.). For man, see Maun, basket; (6) bread-meal, “the flour of pease and barley; because commonly used for making bread. In Clydes. the term denotes meal made of barley; from its being, as would seem, much used for bread” (Clydesd., Rxb. 1825 Jam.2); †(7) bread-morning, “a piece of bread given to the ploughman when he goes to his labour in the morning” (Rxb. Ib.); (8) breid-rower, “rolling pin” (Abd.4 1929); †(9) bread-spaad, “a sort of spattle, made of iron, somewhat in the shape of a spade, used for turning, or otherwise moving, bread on the girdle” (Abd. 1825 Jam.2); (10) twa breids an' a brose, “oatcakes not properly ‘fired,' the heart being soft between the two sides of the cake” (Abd.4 1933); cf. Breid, n., 2. (1) Ags. 1879  J. Guthrie Poems 24;
1 :
Noo is the time for harryin' droners' bykes . . . They'll delve awa for mony an hoor ye're sure, Till comes at last the precious breid and cap.
(2) (a) Dmf. 1905  S. Arnott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 409:
Many of us will know the flower or leafbuds of the hawthorn as bread-and-cheese.
(3) Bnff. 1935 2 :
Ay! that fulls up the breed-backet again.
m.Sc. 1926  J. Wilson Cent. Scot. 105:
Az drii's a hwussul — or a breed-backit. As dry as a whistle — or a bread-box.
(4) Fif. 1882  “S. Tytler” Scotch Marriages, Lady Peggy v.:
[She] stood clearly in need of the ale-saps and bread-berry, the white wine, whey possets, and warm drinks for which Peggy . . . furnished abundant materials.
[Berry is a corruption of O.E. brīw, pottage, through loss of stress and metathesis — thus, brey, bery, berry. See Aleberry.] (5) Abd. 1894  W. Gregor in Trans. Bch. Field Club III. 146:
The trencher on which the cakes were placed is at times made of wood, and is called “the man” or “the breed man.”

Proverb: Abd. 1925 7 :
“He disna aet the breid o' idleseat” means that one works hard for a livelihood. [Known to Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.2, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1935.]

[O.Sc. brede, breid, braid, breed, bread, (1) bread, (2) loaf or single cake of bread (D.O.S.T.); O.E. brēad, a morsel, crumb, bread (Sweet).]

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"Breid n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2017 <>



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