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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.

Bird, Byrd, n.1 Also: birde, byrde, berd, burd. [ME. bird, byrd, berd, ONhb. bird, OE. brid (ME. brid, bryd).]

1. A bird. (Common in poetry, frequently in alliterative phrases; otherwise rare.) c1400 Troy-bk. i. 258.
Byrdes one the trees syngande
c1420 Wynt. i. 393.
Off byrde and best, bathe wylde and tame
c1450-2 Howlat 17; Ib. 66.
Birdis blythest of ble
c1475 Wall. viii. 1193.
Quhar byrdis blythly sang
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 180.
Ane duergh braydit about … Small birdis on broche
a1500 Rauf C. 209.
Byrdis bakin in breid
1490 Irland Mir. I. 128/7.
As the hevinly sone … causis … byrdis to sing and joy
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 516.
Berdis schoutit in schaw
1513 Doug. xiii. Prol. 55.
The smaill byrdis syttand on thar nestis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1067.
Lyke birdis intill a cage
1570 Sat. P. xiii. 120.
Come neuer a gude byrde of the Deuillis eg
1587-99 Hume vii. 78.
A birdis nest

b. A young bird; a chicken. 1424 Acts II. 6/1.
Quhair it beis tayntyt that … the birdis be flowin
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 139 b.
As ane hen gatheris hir burdis vnder hir vingis
1596 Dalr. I. 25/16.
Solande geis … feid thair birdis diligentlie
Ib. 60/9.
Quhil thay haue laid thair eggis, and clekit thair burdes

2. A young animal; a person regarded as offspring or progeny. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matt. xxiii. 33.
Ȝe eddris and eddris birdis [Wycl. briddis]
1542 Elgin Rec. I. 72.
Calland the said Ellen and Margarat … carlis birdis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 52/28.
Better thow had not spokin, condampnit Deuillis byrd
1571 Sat. P. xxv. 29.
These despaired birdis of Beliall
1573 J. Davidson Ib. xli. 43.
Thir Balamis birds sair may thow feir
a1605 Montg. Son. xxiv. 1.
A baxters bird
1591 Bruce Eleven Serm. Y 8 a (J).
Swa they wald ever be handled as tod's birds
1597 Skene Acts Parl. 17.
The woolfe and woolfe-birdes suld be slaine

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"Bird n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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