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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BAIRN-TIME, n.2 [′berntəim]

1. The course of time during which a woman can bear children.Gall. 1824 J. MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 38:
Bairntime, the time a woman takes to breed her family.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (17 June) 3/4:
Matrimony is a dreich affair without the occasional arrival of a baby, and it is to the credit of the wives of Ednam that they did not let “bairn-time” slip by without employing it as nature intended.

2. 1884 D. Grant Chron. of Keckleton (1888) 69:
It's a' very weel for bairns at schule . . . your bairn-time an' mine are baith past, I fear, Mrs Robbie.
Bwk. c.1830 W. Brockie in Minstrelsy of the Merse ed. W. S. Crockett (1893) 169:
Yer bairntime amang styfe and reek In clarty closes spent, Ye scarce e'er saw the green, green gerse, Or the clear blue firmament.
Kcb. 1901 S. R. Crockett Cinderella xiii.:
And as I hae tried to be a mither to her in her helpless bairn-time, so will I be in her youth.

3. (See quot.)Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 47:
Bairn-time, the time when the children are at home (e.g. from school).

4. Pregnancy. Sc. 1829 G. Robertson Recollections 92:
An easy-chair, for the repose of the gudewife at bairntime, or when she was nursing.

[Mod. formation from Bairn and time, O.E. tīma. See etym. of Bairn-time,n.1]

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"Bairn-time n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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