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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.

Bra, Bray, Brae, n. Also: braa, brey, breay, brea(e, bre. [Northern ME. bra (rare), midland bro (1330), app. ON. brá eyelash (= OE. brǽw, bréaw eyelid), with similar development of meaning to that of OE. brú from ‘eyelash, eyelid, eyebrow, brow’, to ‘brow of a hill’.]

1. The (steep or sloping) bank of a river or lake or shore of the sea; a steep slope rising from a water.Frequently (also in sense 2) coupled with bank: see Bank n.1(a) c 1240 Liber Calchou 162.
A predicto molendino … usque ad bra oppositum eidem molendino & ita per illud bra descendendo usque in Naithan
1294 Acts I. *96.
Quod nullus emat … venalia apud Berwicum venientia per mare nisi sit ante bordam navis … videlicet at the Rade bra
1375 Barb. iv. 373.
Saufly thair arivit thai, And vnder ane bra thair galay dreuch
Ib. vi. 147.
He … Met thame richt stoutly at the bra [of the ford]
Ib. xiii. 337.
Banokburn, betuix the brais, Of hors and men so chargit was
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1668.
Wyntir … the waleis mais All wete and scowres all the brais
c1420 Wynt. iii. 1010.
Wndyr a bra be Tybere nere
Ib. iv. 237.
At the bra quhare nerest was The furde
Ib. viii. 3913; etc.
A gret syk betwene thame was, On ilke syd [were] brays stay
1513 Doug. i. viii. 11.
Endlang the flude of Eurot on the bra
c1520-c1535 Nisbet John xxi. 4.
Quhen the morn was cummin, Jesus stude in the bra [Wycl. brenke]
1531 Bell. Boece I. 243.
The watter of Dune ran full of blude, and the brais of it schane all nicht
1535 Stewart 36124.
Tha had his bodie till ane water syde, Vnder ane bra … Tha maid ane graif
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5907.
Endlang the flude of Flagitone, Or on the brais of Acherone
1585 Reg. Privy C. IV. 17.
Within … certane … lochis, caulis, brais, shoris, and granis thairof
(b) c1475 Wall. ix. 1476.
Wndyr a bray thai buschyt thaim rycht law, Lang the wattyr
1531 Bell. Boece I. p. xxviii.
Howbeit the brayis, be alluvioun and flux of seis, ar worne
1533 Bell. Livy I. 17/28.
This ryver … was ȝett furth with large flude aboue the brayis
1550 Reg. Cupar A. II. 73.
Athort the west pairt of the bray of the pule of Lyndeganiff
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 12.
The roring of the raiging seyis gray Quhilk boreas blast from bank to bray had brocht
c1590 Fowler 89/86.
The bayes, the brayes, the brookes, the floods, the deip & watrie stankis
(c) 1585 James VI Ess. 37.
The … suirest swimming [is] where the braes are grene
1596 Dalr. II. 17/11.
That … the water, flowing ouer the braes, mycht turne bak into the loch
a1598 Ferg. Prov. 112.
Ye may drink of the burn, but not byte of the brae
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1862) I. 345.
A river of God's unseen joys have flowed from bank to brae over my soul

2. A bank or stretch of ground rising with a fairly steep slope; the face of a hill.(a) 1375 Barb. iii. 109.
Ane narow place Betuix a louchside and a bra
Ib. xviii. 365; etc.
Betuix thaim and it thar was Ane craggy bra
c1420 Wynt. viii. 4338.
The Schirrawe … can to thaim ga Qwhare thai ware standand in a bra
Ib. ix. 856.
Thai saw thair fais … Owte oure a bra downe awaland
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1021.
As he loutit our ane bra, His feit founderit hym fra
1513 Doug. vii. xii. 19.
The scharp craggy rochis … With hyngand hewys and mony a skowland bra
Ib. xii. xi. 161.
The gret rock crag … Halding his fard the discens of the bra
1537 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 17.
Beginning … at an ald carn of stanes … to a gret gray stane in the bra
1549 Compl. 42/27.
The scheiphirdis pat there scheip on bankis and brais … to get ther pastour
a1568 Scott ii. 161.
Sone doun the bra Sym braid lyk thunder
1573 Sat. P. xlii. 981.
We … Syne raid a lytill eist the bra, Quhair that our gaittis partit in twa
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 203.
Abreid, athort ȝour bankis and brais, ȝe do abound in coill and calk
1596 Dalr. I. 163/16.
Thay gyue bakis, ouer hil and hoip, bank & bra
(b) c1475 Wall. vi. 458.
He … Atour a bray the omast pot gert fall
1533 Boece i. viii. 52.
The boundis thareof in breid fra the heich brayis … to the mowth of the watter of Louchte ar extendit
1554 Ayr Common Good Acc. (MS.).
To four pinewris for delfing doun the brayis of the hillis
c 1575 Sat. P. xliii. 165.
Quha gaid formest breistand vp the braies
1588–9 Lanark B. Rec. 95.
To William Wilsoun for breking stanis up the bray
1592 Stirling B. Rec. I. 84.
The bray callit the South Bray of the said burght
1606 Craig ii. 151.
In vallies low and on the bray
1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 324.
Fornent ane great craig on the bray
1650 Falkirk Par. Rec. I. 164.
Upon the brayes betwixt Carsibank and Millhall
1668 Lauder Journal 187.
The face or brow of the bray of the wester hill
attrib. c1650 Spalding II. 443.
The bray countrie of Lochquhaber
a 1714 Cromarty Corr. II. 475.
The … bray men of Cathnes
(c) a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 23.
The hart, the hynd, … War skowping all fra brae to brae
1624 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 144.
Meitting ane number of cattis within the dyk upon the brae
1638 Black Bk. Taymouth 396.
To watch … the braes of the cuntrie … lest brokin men … sould prease to do ony wrong
1647 Bk. Pasquils 152.
From hole to busse, from bank to brae
1665 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 223.
Southward therfrom to the brow of the brae
1696 Aberd. B. Chart. 383.
Ane rigg of land lyand benorth the duckat at the foot of the brae
attrib. 1616 Reg. Great S. 537/2.
Lie mures et mosis jacent. supra … the Brae-landis of Thornetoun
fig. 1643 Baillie II. 83.
For the present the Parliament syde is running down the brae
(d) 1569-73 Bann. Memor. 232.
Having a 30 horsmen lyand under the brea
a1598 Ferg. Prov. 52.
He stumbles at a strea and loupes at a brea
1627 Ann. Banff II. 212.
Begynnand … at ane grene brea and craige in the chyngil
1677 Elgin Rec. I. 322.
Major Beatman hes taikin the Marivall grass and brea for the insueing year
1689 Leven & Melv. P. 249.
The enemy wer in the breas of that shire

b. In place-names. 1451 Exch. R. V. 474.
De le Braa et Kerse de Kambus
Ib. 475.
Cum le Bra de Bochquhopill
1488 Acta Aud. 117/2.
Fra the bra of Stratirum to the sey
1528 Red Bk. Menteith II. 380.
The bra of Cammys and the warde of Gwdy
1556 Peebles B. Rec. 230.
Passand northeist be merch stanis be Hammildone bray
c1550-79 Chron. Fortirgall 121.
At the next Belten … the bra of Rannoch was hareyd
1574 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 25.
Jhonne Logane, of the Sheref Bray
1587 Acts III. 476/2.
The … landis of Straithdie and bra of Mar
c1650 Spalding I. 46.
Thair brak out a number of Hieland lounis and heiryit the brayis of Morray
1658 Lamont Diary 133.
The young Laird of Evelick, in the Brae of the Carse of Gowry

2. The brim of a vessel. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 235.
Scho … to the fat sped hyre ȝarne & fand it fillit to the bra

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



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