Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BURSTIN, Bursten, Burston, Bursteen, n. Rough meal made from corn dried in a kettle over the fire (or by the method indicated in Ork. quot.), and then ground in a quern. Marw. says: “It was usually then mixed up with buttermilk and eaten without further cooking. Not often made nowadays.” Known to Bnff.2 for Sh. c.1890, and to Cai.7 1937. See Mullyecks. [′bʌrstən, ′bʌrstɪn, ′bʌrstin] Sh. 1914  J. M. E. Saxby in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. VII. ii. 71:
The oats, . . . known as “Shetland aits,” is [sic] a hard, dark-coloured pukkle, vigorous in growth, but not full in the ear. When this corn was dried and ground on a handmill it was called bursteen.
Ork. 1825  Jam.2, s.v. burston:
A dish composed of corn, roasted by rolling hot stones amongst it till it be made quite brown, then half ground and mixed with sour milk.
Cai. 1916  Old Cai. Croft in John o' Groat Jnl. (7 April):
In the early harvest when meal was scarce a sheaf or two was taken home, thrashed, the corn dried in an old pot and ground in a quern. The hot meal was called “bursten,” and with new milk was splendid.

Comb.: bursten broonie, burstin brünie, a scone made from “burstin.” See also Brunie. Sh. 1832  Visit to Shetland in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc., VI. iv. 189:
Sunday, July 29. Rose late; hot bursten broonies for breakfast.
Sh. 1888  Edmonston and Saxby Home of a Naturalist 101:
Burstin brünies, run-milk, and blawn-cod may assert themselves wherever high game and moving cheese are permitted to appear.

[Prob. from pr.p. or strong pa.p. of burst, because of the ears of corn bursting when being roasted.]

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"Burstin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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