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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BURREL, BURRAL, BIRREL, n.1 A ridge in the old method of ploughing called balk and burral, baulk and burrel (see Bauk2, 5 (1)); gen. used attrib. with such words as field, rig, etc.Sc. 1813 N. Carlisle Topog. Dict. Scot. I. Gloss.:
Burrel-fields denote a Waste that has in part been ploughed up into narrow ridges with broad bauks or spaces between, so as to be divided into stripes; sometimes the waste being twice the breadth of the ridge.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore of N.-E. Scot. 195:
Its [the old wooden plough's] work was lately to be seen on many moors in the broad curved ridges that went by the name of “Burrel Rigs.”
Abd. 1789 G. Sutherland in Bnffsh. Field Club (1889) 55:
To give mould for this “gore” the ridge in thin soil was always “gathered,” i.e., thrown towards the centre, resulting eventually in “burrel rigs,” i.e., ridges of soil separated from each other by “baulks” or hollows, often wider than the ridge.
Abd. 1901 A. Paterson Monquhitter 12:
The riggs are raised towards the centre, and curved somewhat like the side of a barrel, leaving deep hollows for drainage. . . . With the advance of agriculture the marshy ground was drained and the birrel rigs were abandoned.
Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 167:
in balk an burrel, weans weill happit
an courss cairns bi their biggins
as ower mild mead an prood pasture.

[Cf. Borrel, adj., rough, rude.]

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"Burrel ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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