Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BURD, Bord, n.1 [bʌrd, but Sh. + bø:rd, bu:rd (Fair Isle)] The form burd is found in Sc. = St.Eng. bird, but the following are special Sc. usages:

1. Offspring in gen., chiefly used in a derogatory sense when applied to human beings; the young of birds before hatching. Cf. Bird, n.1, 1. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 381:
You have gotten Butter in a Burd [i.e. when you were a chicken]. Spoken to one that sings, speaks, or calls with a loud Voice. The Scotish Wives give Butter to those Chickens which they design to rear for House Cocks, that they may crow the clearer.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
Der'r a b[ord] i de egg.
Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Caithness Proverbs 7:
“Lek 'e tod's burd, auler 'e waar” — like the young of the fox, the older the more cunning it grows.
Slk. 1824 Hogg Private Memoirs 330:
Ye ditit, donnart, deil's burd that ye be! Hence burded, bordet, adj., “of eggs — having young inside. ‘Hoo many o' the eggs were b[urded] ?'” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), bordet; Ork. 1929 Marw., burded).

2. A term of endearment, gen. to children or young persons. Dim. burdie. Also attrib. Sc. [1826] R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 13:
Hushie-ba, burdie beeton! Your mammie's gane to Seaton.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
My b[ord]! my sweet b[ord]! my dear little one, my love!
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 115:
O tak' the Bible, Kitto, burd!

[Perhaps a variant of Eng. bird, used formerly in Eng. also for the young of various animals. Jak. and Marw., however, consider that it is a distinct word, going back to O.N. burðr, birth, fœtus, the thing born, offspring (Zoëga); O.E. byrd, birth (Sweet). Cf. Norw. byrd, Norw. dial. burd, bearing, offspring (Falk and Torp), and see Sh. Bodda and Ork. Buddo. Bird and burd, however, have become confused very early in Sc., see D.O.S.T. s. v. bird, n.1, and burd.]

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"Burd n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Jun 2021 <>



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