Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BREE, Brie, n.1 and v.1 See also Broo, n.1 [bri:]

1. n.

(1) Liquid in which anything has been steeped or boiled so as to extract the essence; broth, soup, gravy. Also used fig. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1769 D. Herd Sc. Songs (1776) II. 28:
A nivefow of meal, and handfow of groats, A daad of a bannock or herring-brie.
Sc. 1858 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. (1862) II. v.:
“Ye use the Lord's Prayer sae aften — ye juist mak a dish clout o't.” Skinner's rejoinder was, “Verra true! Aye, man, we mak a dish clout o't, an' we wring't, an' we wring't, an' the bree o't washes a' the lave o' our prayers.”
Arg.1 1929:
Away and poor the bree aff the wulks.

(2) “Whisky” (Bnff.2, Abd.19, Fif.10, Link.3 1935). Cf. Barley-Bree. Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (ed. Rogers 1905) 253:
What in the morn wad been my scorn, Wi' the bree o'ercome, I did at late.

(3) Juice (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1935). Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's o' Solomon iii. 10:
They'll be reamin fu' an' skailin, Wi' the red bree o' the grapes.

(4) Liquid or moisture of any kind (Bnff.2, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1935). Cai.7 1935, snaw-bree. n.Sc. 1865 Fishing in n. Scot. in Times (22 April):
Though “snow-bree” is unfavourable to angling, still it brings water to the river and with it fish.
Abd.(D) 1921 R. L. Cassie Doric Ditties 15:
Across the close, in wechty beets, they pleyter't throu' the bree.
Abd.2 1935:
Sharn bree fae the midden gars the ingans grow better than onything ye can gie them.

Phrases: (1) aboon the bree, above water, said of a person who is holding his own against difficulties, e.g. money troubles; (2) to spoil the brie, to upset the apple-cart; (3) tae tak' the bree wi' the barm, to take the rough with the smooth (Mry.(D) 1898 J. Slater Seaside Idylls 30). (1) Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Ingleside Musings, etc. 42:
To keep the kettle boilin', lass, An' heads aboon the bree.
(2) Ayr. 1894 A. Laing Poems 101 (E.D.D. Suppl.):
I trust we hae'na spoiled the brie Wi oor applause.

2. v.

(1) To pour water on vegetables, etc., to be boiled. Rare. Bnff.2 1935:
Mercy on's! I've forgotten t' bree the kail, an' they're brunt black.

(2) To drain the water from solids that have been boiled. n.Sc. 1898 E.D.D.; Bnff.2 1935:
Lassie, gyang an bree the taties or they'll be a throuw the bree.
Abd.2 1935:
If ye've bree'd the kail, ye'll fin they're stickin tae the pot.

(3) Phr.: to bree yir taties, “to micturate” (Abd.22 1935).

[Mid.Eng. brē, brēie, broth, gravy (Stratmann); used in Destruction of Troy (c.1400) for “water, the sea”; apparently the same as O.E. brīw, pottage, porridge, and brēowan, to brew.]

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"Bree n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jan 2022 <>



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