Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOORACH, BOUROCK, n. Variant forms have (1) bowr-, buir-, burr- (all rare), in first syllable, (2) -ack, -ick, -ich, -och, -ik, in suffix. Also dim. with -ie. Gen.Sc. [′bu:rəx, ′bu:rɪ, ′bu:rək, ′bʌrɪi]

1. A mound, “a small knoll, as distinguished from a brae” (Slk. 1825 Jam.2); a heap of stones. Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxx.:
But then came in the story of my poor bairn, and my mother thought he wad be deaved wi' its skirling, and she pat it away in below the bit bourock of turf yonder, just to be out o' the gate.
Ags. 1932 A. Gray Arrows 79:
He has struck his fit on a bourock; he trippit and slippit, and syne He fell, and it snawed reid roses; and surely it rained cool wine.
Lnl. 1864 J. C. Shairp Kitmahoe, etc. 136:
And the bonny blithe shealings Are bourocks o' stanes, wi' rank nettles grown o'er.
Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups of Durley i.:
As you pass in, take care and not knock down that bourock of chucky-stanes.

2. A heap or mass. Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 46:
Upon a little haughie . . . twenty deid deer waur coontit, a' lyin' in a boorach thegither.
Bnff. 1922 The Uninspired Peat in Bnffsh. Jnl. (21 Feb.) 6:
The men cut the peats, an' the lassies rowt them oot, an' coupit in boorochies or heaps o' a dizzen or saxteen.
Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer iii.:
See sic a warl' o' kists as she's brocht wi' her. . . . Saw ye ever sic a bourach (heap)?
em.Sc. 1909 J. Black Melodies and Memories 73:
But hirsle yont, see what a sicht O' holly leaves wi' berries bricht, An' bouracks big o' cake an' bun To grace the feasts an' spice the fun.
fig. Lnk. 1928 T. S. Cairncross in Scots Mag. (July) 274:
For organs, me, I dinna care a sourock And a' new-fangled music's juist a bourock.

3. A crowd, a group, a cluster. Bnff.(D) 1920 E. S. Rae in Bnffsh. Jnl. (14 Dec.):
An' boorichs black o' crawin' clamrin' craws.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes, etc. 200:
Ilk ane taks a spoon ere the burrichie close, To try for the ring in a bassie o' brose.
Ags. 1912 J. A. Duthie Rhymes and Reminisc. 76:
By this time there was a boorich roond's, a' tittin' to get the maister informed o' oor prank.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin (1868) xxxiii.:
The bourich o' blackguards that he brocht at his heels.
Lth. [1801] J. Thomson Poems (1819) 137:
The lambs in buiriks frisk and play Upon the flow'ry lee.
Hdg. 1801 R. Gall Poems, etc. (1819) 20:
Now some are seen in bouracks gay, On Bruntsfield Links to spend the day.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems II. 60:
His bonny, various, yeelin' friens Cam' a' in bourrochs there.

4. (1) A humble dwelling, a hovel; “a small bower or house” (Ags.2 1935, bourock). Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 481–482:
It consisted of 50 or 60 mossy huts . . . irregularly huddled together; hence it got the name of the bourachs.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan I. 284:
I had just time to reply “Deed's I, my doo,” . . . and the hail lot of us alichtit at our ain bourock.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 116:
The boys and lassies a', Toil'd mony an hour, and mony a day, To mak the bourock bra'.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 228:
And, nie'brin booricks, where he danc'd and sang.

(2) “An inclosure; applied to the little houses that children build for play, especially those made in the sand” (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

Phr.: to big(g) (sandy) bourocks, — bowrocks (with a person), to be on friendly terms. Gen. neg. Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs 70:
We'll never bigg Sandy bowrocks together.
Gall. 1794–1868 Curriehill:
“I'll big nae bourocks wi' him,” meaning we are not on friendly terms.

[The N.E.D. suggests a possible origin in O.E. būr, a dwelling + dim. suff. -ock. This is phonologically quite regular for the oo and ou forms. The form burrichie and verbal form, burrach'd (see Boorach, v., 1 (2)), however, and several of the meanings suggest a connection with O.E. burg (a fort, earth thrown up as a protection), from an ablaut variant of the verb beorgan, to protect, with its modern forms borough, bury, burrow.]

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"Boorach n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2021 <>



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