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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BREAKSHUGH, BREAKSHUACH, Braikshaw, Breckshaw, Breschaw, n. “The dysentery in sheep” (Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam.2); “internal inflammation in sheep, ending in sphacelation” (Peb., Rxb. Ib., breschaw).Sc. 1807 Prize Essays and Trans. Highl. Soc. of Scot. III. 411:
Dysentery, or Braxy, Breckshaw . . . Breakshuach, or Cling.
Sc. 1822 W. J. Napier Practical Storefarming 139:
It [draining] prevents a great many of the diseases to which sheep are liable, and particularly breakshuach, rot, foot-rot, and braxy.
Dmf. 1794 W. Stewart in B. Johnston Gen. View Agric. Dmf., App. IV. p. xxxvi.:
In the autumn and winter, when lambs are about six months old (then called hogs), they are subject to the most mortal disease that affects them at any period. It is called in this part of the country the sickness; further west it is termed . . . braikshaw.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar II. v.:
There is a disease among sheep, called by shepherds the Breakshugh, a deadly sort of dysentery, which is as infectious as fire, in a flock.

[The first element seems to be the same as Braxy, Braik. The second element -shugh, -shuach, -s(c)haw, may be cogn. with Ger. sucht, disease, Goth. sauhts, O.N. sóttr, O.E. sēoc. For -shaw = disease, cf. Benshaw, a disease in horses. E.D.D. gives brakesowt for Cum., where Norse influence is to be expected, to which perhaps we owe also the form braxit, s.v. Braxy.]

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"Breakshugh n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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