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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BORREL, BORRELL, adj. Rough, rude.Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
“I intend to delate mysell to the Presbytery,” said Steenie, “and tell them all I have seen last night, whilk are things fitter for them to judge of than a borrel man like me.”
Sc. 1828 Scott F. M. Perth xxix.:
But what would the burning of a borrell ignorant burgess like me serve?
Sc. 1899 Mont.-Fleming:
“A borrell man,” an uncultivated rustic.

Comb.: borrell-loons, “wild or mischievous country lads” (Sir W. Scott quoted by Jam.6 1887).

[O.Sc. burel(l), rough, rude; O.Fr. borel, burel, from bure (Lat. burra), a rough kind of cloth. Cf. Mod.Fr. bureau, orig. meaning a desk-cover (see Hatz. and Darm.). Cf. Burrel, adj.]

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"Borrel adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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