Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BYRE, n. and v. [′bɑɪər, ′bəiər]

1. n. Sc. usages in combs. and phrase: (1) byre-claut, a handled scraper for cleaning out a byre (Ags.1, Kcb.1, Kcb.9 1938); (2) byreman, a cattleman (Bnff.2, Kcb.1 1938); (3) byre-mucker, one who cleans out a byre (Cai.7, Ags.1 1938); see Muck, v.; (4) byre-woman, a woman who looks after the cows (Bnff.2, Kcb.9 1938); (5) to mak' a byre o' yer belly, “to overeat” (Abd.4 1929). (1) Gall. 1877 “Saxon” (ed.) Gall. Gossip 57–58:
I hae . . . the very best muck-graips and byre-clauts made.
(2) Rxb. 1915 Kelso Chron. (1 Jan.) 3:
The woman steward, the shepherd and the byreman were generally fixtures.
(3) Ayr. 1790 Burns Works (ed. Currie 1800) II. 310:
As ill spelt as country John's billet-doux, or as unsightly a scrawl as Betty Byremucker's answer to it.
(4) Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 48:
She wus byre-woman at Barlocco. A suppose A should 'a' ca't her the Dairymaid.

2. v. To put cows in the “byre” or cow-house (Abd.19 1938). Abd.(D) 1924 “Knoweheid” in Swatches o' Hamespun 12:
I'se awa oot te look at a beast we've byre't. He's a bittie aff's feed.

[E.D.D. gives byre for Sc., n.Eng. and Irish dials. Its appearance in Mod.St.Eng. is rare, but it is found earlier (mostly in vocabularies) from c.800–c.1050. The quots. in N.E.D. from c.1440 are mostly Sc. and n.Eng. O.Sc. has byre, byer, etc., 1437, a cow-house (D.O.S.T.); prob. cogn. with O.E. būr, Eng. bower, but not derived from O.N. b-r, though both derive from Gmc. root *bū-, to dwell.]

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"Byre n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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