Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
BROONIE, Brownie, Brouny, Brunie, n.1 A benevolent household sprite, usually shaggy and of peculiar shape, who haunted houses, particularly farm-houses, and, if the servants treated him well, performed many tasks of drudgery for them while they were asleep; a goblin or evil spirit — in this latter sense approaching more nearly to brown man, see Broon, 2 (1). This sinister association seems to be common in Shetland. Gen.Sc., but now gen. accepted in Eng. [′bruni, ′brʌuni]
Sh. 1701 J. Brand Descr. Ork., Zetland, etc. 112:
Not above 40 or 50 Years ago, almost every family had a Brouny or evil Spirit so called, which served them, to whom they gave a Sacrifice for his Service. Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie I. xviii.:
In a broken voice, low, and solemn, and fraught with mystery, she said, “Donal, it's the broonie!” Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. of an Old Boy, App. 291:
Then neist cam a broonie, baith gruesome an' grim. w.Sc. 1703 M. Martin Descr. Western Islands 67:
Below the Chappels there is a flat thin Stone, call'd Brownies Stone, upon which the ancient Inhabitants offered a Cow's Milk every Sunday, but this Custom is now quite abolish'd. Ayr. 1809 W. Craw Poet. Epistles 45:
Mony a hellish fiend was there, Wi' brunies, spunkies, pair by pair.
Combs.: (1) brownie-bae, id.; (2) Brownie Clod, id.
(1) Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 3:
But there comes Robie, flaught-braid down the brae; How wild he glowrs, like some daft brownie-bae. (2) Mry. 1887 J. Thomson Recoll. Speyside Par. xi.:
“Brownie Clod” does not appear to have had a local habitation. He was a wandering spirit that delighted to travel from place to place, and among poor folks, with his nightly pranks.
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Broonie n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Jun 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/broonie_n1>
Try an Advanced Search