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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Birl, Byrl, v. Also: birll, byrll. [ME. birle, byrle, ONhb. birliᵹa, OE. byrelian, f. byrele cup-bearer.]

1. tr. To pour out for drinking. Also with on or upon (= to) a person. a1500 Seven S. 1053.
Scho … on ald Ysak birlit the wyne
1513 Doug. i. iv. 67; Ib. iii. v. 138, etc.
The wyne tharwith, … To thame he byrlis and skynkis fast
1533 Boece viii. ix. 269.
Hengist gaif his besy cure … that the nobill wyne largelie apoun the king suld be birllit
1558 Prot. Bk. A. Gaw 45.
Thai birlit vyn on him … , quhil he ves ful of vyn and ves drunkin
c1590 J. Stewart 235 § 143.
Foull Glottonie … Did birll the vyyne upon me

2. intr. To drink or carouse. Const. at (the wine, etc.) a1585 Polwart Flyting 178.
Thou was begotten … At banket birland at the beir
a1605 Montg. Son. lxvi. 11 .
To heir hou ȝe … Birlis at the wyne

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"Birl v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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