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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.

Brest(e, Breist, n. Also: breyst, breest; brist. [ME. breest, brest(e, OE. bréost.]

1. The breast of the body.(a) a1400 Leg. S. iii. 2.
Sanct Andrew … That bar the mekest hart in breste
Ib. xvi. 525; etc.
Thai … layde the chylde til her breste
c1420 Wynt. i. 723.
In thare brestys ar holys twa
1456 Hay I. 59/19.
His hert rais in his breste
Ib. II. 139/31.
Calde water … genderis stopping in the breste
a1500 Henr. Orph. 296.
And on his brest thar sat ane grysly grype
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 54 (A).
Of all his dynere … His brest held neuer a bit
1662 Highland P. III. 19.
The milk was gone out her brest
(b) c1475 Wall. iii. 375.
Ane othir braithly on the breyst he bar
1484 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 413.
Craftismen … sal … beyr thare takyinis of thare craft upon thare breistis [pr. beristis]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. iv. 26.
On the moderis breist … The bab
1513 Doug. i. vi. 97.
The knyf out throw hys breist
Ib. ii. vi. 44; etc.
Into his armys, lappit to his breist
1551–2 Treas. Acc. X. 47.
Deliverit to hir servand tway bwistis for hir breist
1564 Crim. Trials I. 452.
Streking of him … in his breist
1591 Ib. 251.
Thair came … sic ane flaffing in hir breist
1596 Dalr. I. 26/26.
Sche is … in the breist nocht vnlyke to the wylde bare
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. 8.
The steilling of twa breistis of ane ox
1619 Black Bk. Taymouth 442.
The dowblet … is now up to the slot of his breist
1675 Stirlings of Keir 507.
Her breist is beald
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 391.
Foret, brist, and … body
1535 Stewart 508.
Bristis wer brissm
1648 Misc. Spald. C. V. 109.
The papers … prined on the bristis of thes that stand on the scaffold

b. As the seat of thought or feeling.(a) 1456 Hay II. 158/7.
Sa dois thouchtis … [fle] throu the mannis breste
c1460 Wisd. Sol. 660.
Ire restis ay in the fulis brest
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 1047.
Thy bale … now in my brest haboundis
1513 Doug. ii. iv. 51.
The onkowth dreid into thar brestis crap
(b) 1491 Reg. Episc. Glasg. 483.
To amuf of thar breistis the said doubt
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 321.
Gentill ingynys and breistis curageus
Ib. ix. 6.
Quhat purpos now … Rysys in thy breist?
1531 Bell. Boece II. 105.
Science … imprentit in thair breist
1560 Rolland Seven S. 151/31.
Tell me the treuth and oppin to me ȝour breist
a1578 Pitsc. I. 167/10.
Thair grew sic mortall feid within the kingis breist
1585 James VI Ess. 27.
Except with holy fyre his breest we fill
1626 Garden Worthies 40.
Your bold breists
(c) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 165.
It to beir on my brist wes berdin our hevy

2. The breast of a garment. 1542 Acts & Decr. I. 140 b.
Tua buttonis of gold, ane in his coit brest, ane vther in his dowblet brist
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 358.
To mend the best goldin caip … , for ane fyne breist to it
1568 Treas. Acc. MS. 75.
Ane elne … of Spanȝe taffeteis to lyne the breistis … of ane cloke
1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 115.
Ane govne … the breistis thairof lynit with veluous
1587 Treas. Acc. MS. 116.
Reid crammessie freis to lyne thair cloik breistis

3. The front or advanced part. 1442 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 8.
That this burgh sal be wachit ilke nyght with thretty men at the breste
1535 Stewart 9754.
With speris lang … Of ilk battell to be into the breist

4. The front part of a structure. 1581–2 Misc. Spald. C. V. 53.
Payt for making of the brist of the vyndok tymmer
1642 Kirkcaldy Presb. 232.
The Laird of Orroks seatt sallbe built … not comeing without the briest
1697 Foulis Acc. Bk. 215.
For lambleck … , for the door and breist of the coatchhouse

5. Attrib. with button, claithis, ledder, peice, splent. 1496 Treas. Acc. I. 293.
A quhit hyde to be brestledderis and nekledderis to hamys
1504–5 Acta Conc. MS. XVI. 228 b.
Ane brest splent
1602 Treas. Acc. MS. 117.
Lane to be … ourlayeris, handis, and breist claithis
1621 Edinb. Test. LI. 91.
Thrie cut wark bandis, with handis, breist claithis, and coller bodeis
1640 Black Bk. Taymouth 348.
Ane breist peice, ane bak peice
1656–9 Fam. Rose 351.
Breist buttons, … neck buttons

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"Brest n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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