Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

BRATTLE, Brattel, Bratl, Bratli, n. and v. [brɑtl, ′brɑtl]

I. n.

1. A loud clattering noise of any kind; “a clattering noise, as that made by the feet of horses, when prancing, or moving rapidly” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); “a peal of thunder” (Kcb.9 1935; Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.; Uls.2 1929). Gen.Sc. Sc. 1832 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 339:
Thae commonplace burns . . . that hae . . . nae soorce, but that every wat day contrive to get up a desperate brattle amang the lowse stanes.
Ags. 1892 D. Tasker Pastime Musings iii. 163:
She liftit the sneck, wi' a brattle like thunder, The door it flew open.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet x.:
'Mang Hallowfair's wild noisy brattle, Thou'st foughten mony a weary battle.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 61:
In he goes wi' a brattle, crying how is a' here the day?
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 209:
They had not been long out, when their ears were filled with the brattle of a horse, at his best pace.

2. A short race, hurry; a sudden bound. Known to Bnff.2 1935. Sc. 1716 Ramsay Chr. Kirke ii. iv. in Poems (1721):
Bauld Bess flew till him wi' a Brattle.
Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 60:
Better the nag that ambles a' day than him that maks a brattle for a mile, and then's dune wi' the road.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 91:
Now by the time, that they their piece had ta'en, A' in a brattle to the gate they're gane.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Farmer's Salutation x:
The sma', droot-rumpl't [Cent. ed. droop-], hunter cattle, Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle; But sax Scotch mile, thou try't their mettle, An' gart them whaizle.

3. “A fight” (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Gloss.); a noisy onset. Also fig. wm.Sc. [1835–1837] Laird of Logan (1868) 422:
[He] had also got his bit brattel over.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Winter Night (Cent. ed.) iii.:
I thought me on the ourie cattle, Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle O' winter war.

4. “Spell of bad weather; wind with rain or sleet, mostly of short duration; a sudden, hard blast with some rain; squall of wind” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), bratl, brattle, bratli; Bnff.2 1935).

II. v.

1. “To make a clashing or clattering noise” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff.2, Abd.19, Lnk.3 1935), often used of a noisy stream (Slg.3, Kcb.1 1935); “to make a confused and harsh noise” (Dmf. 1825 Jam.2; Kcb.9 1935). Abd. 1853 W. Cadenhead Flights of Fancy 217:
Tho' bitter rain or blindin' drift Without may blash and brattle.
e.Lth. 1905 J. Lumsden Edb. and Country Croonings 72:
Esk . . . brattlin' ower stay an' rocky stone.
Rnf. 1846 W. Finlay Poems 63:
The pure stream brattling down its side.
Ayr. 1896 J. Lamb Annals Ayrsh. Par. 77:
The thunder brattled wi' eerie thud.

2. “To advance rapidly, making a noise with the feet” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). wm.Sc. 1835–1837 Laird of Logan I. 276:
Up streets and doun streets, dunting and jingling we brattled like mad.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 60:
Nor waited he to curse or ban, But aff did brattle.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 213:
In fright, to his neebours he brattl'd wi' speed.

[O.Sc. brat(t)ill, brattle, n., a rattle or clatter; a sharp assault, v., to rattle or clatter. Imitative (D.O.S.T.).]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Brattle n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Aug 2021 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: