Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FOREBREIST, n. Also -briest, -breast; -breisht (Abd.).

1. The front of anything, the forefront (Abd.27 1953). Sc. 1935  Sc. N. & Q. (Jan.) 5:
Aye at the pleuch tail but never at the forebreisht o' the market.

2. Specif.: (1) the front seat (of the gallery) in a church (n.Sc. 1825 .Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Rs., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1953). Often in phr. forebreist o' the laft (Jam.2; Peb. 1953); (2) the front (seat) of a cart (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 52; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1953). (1) Abd. 1700  in W. Cramond Church of Aberdour (1896) 42:
Severall young people do possess the forebreast of the common loft in tyme of sermon to the prejudice of others that are old.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
The heritors' seat i' the forebriest.
Edb. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 34:
Sittin in his muckle airm-chair in the forebreist o' the sooth laft.
Kcb. 1900  “W. Gairdner” Glengoyne I. 79:
The family pew was a “forebreast,” one which would have been his laird's had the laird been resident.
Abd. 1950  Huntly Express (29 Sept.):
There wis a raxin' o' necks nae mowse fan we took oor seats i' the forebreist o' the kirk.
(2) Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
Mounting the “forebreist” himself, started again, fairly under weigh for the Wells.
Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 190:
Ye see them sittin' on the forebreist o' their cairts smokin' a pipe's tho' they wur men.

[Fore-, 1. + Breist. O.Sc. forbreist, the van, c.1470, front gallery seat, 1668.]

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"Forebreist n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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