Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BIRSE-CUP, BIRSE TEA, n. The last cup of tea, with whisky or other spirit added, usually a third cup — an extra. The expression is said to have originated in the parish of Birse. The spirit was put in instead of cream. Bnff. 1930 2 :
Will ye tak a birse-cup, Munty, t' feenish up wi'?
Abd. 1912  Scotsman (18 Jan.):
What “Birse Tea” is everyone in Deeside knows, but . . . no one is apparently able to give me a satisfactory explanation.
Abd. 1922  J. Lawrence in Bnffsh. Jnl. (14 Nov.):
I have seen “birse tea” drunk in Byth.
Bch. 1929  W. Littlejohn Buchan Cottar Stories i.:
Instead of putting cream into the cup of tea, they put a small supply of whisky, and that cup was known as “birse tea.”

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"Birse-cup n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2019 <>



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