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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).

BRAGWORT, Bregwort, Bregwud, Brog-wort, Broug-wort, n. “A species of mead” (Fif. 1825 Jam.2, brog-wort, broug-wort) (see second and fourth quots.). Eng. bragget was orig. made of the same ingredients, although latterly the honey has been replaced by sugar and spice.Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. VIII. 405:
To learn that the Scottish bregwort, or mead, so plentiful at a harvest supper, is the self-same drink with which the votaries of Rimmon cheered themselves may well alarm a devout mind.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 88:
Bragwort. Mead. A fermented liquor, made from honey . . . the gude wife takes the kaimes out of the skep, and lets the hinny drop out of them before the fire; when this is done, she takes these combs or kaimes and steeps them in water. This water, warmed and quickened with barm, composes bragwort.
Wgt. 1934 A. M'Cormick in Glasgow Herald (3 Oct.):
In Whithorn (Wgt.) it [heather ale] appears to have been called bregwort, and in the Lammermoor district of Berwickshire it was called bregwud.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Bragwort, a beverage made of honey-dregs, boiled with water, or occasionally malt.

Phr.: †bitter as bragwort, “a proverbial phr., used to denote anything very bitter. But whether it refer to this [i.e. mead] or not, seems extremely doubtful, as this drink ought to be sweet. Perhaps it rather respects some herb” (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

[O.Sc. brogat, broget, a drink made of ale and honey (D.O.S.T.). Obs. Welsh bragod, -au, -ydd, a malt liquor, from brag, malt (Spurrell Welsh-Eng. Dict.); allied to Irish bracad, a malting (Dinneen). The later Sc. forms have arisen through an erroneous association of the suff. -et with wort, an infusion of malt or other grain.]

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"Bragwort n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/bragwort>

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