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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).

DREAMING-BREAD, n. comb. Also †-bit. Wedding cake (Ags.17 1940). Also applied to christening-cake.Sc. 1771 Weekly Mag. (24 Oct.) 115:
Each his posset takes, and dreaming-bit.
Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage I. xix.:
Miss Nicky wondered what was to become of the christening cake she had ordered from Perth. . . . The Misses were ready to weep at the disappointment of the dreaming bread.
Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
The term [dreaming-bread] is also applied to the cake used at a baptism. This is wrapped up in the garment which covers the posteriors of the infant, and afterwards divided among the young people that they may sleep over it.
Sh. 1869 J. T. Reid Art Rambles 62:
As they approach the bride's house, her mother and one or two female relatives meet her, carrying in a clean white cambric napkin a cake baked with seeds and sugar, called the “bride's-cake,” or “dreaming-bread,” broken into small pieces, which she throws over the head of the bride.
Ags. 1818 in Edb. Mag. (Nov.) 413:
When they reach the bridegroom's door . . . some cakes of shortbread are broken over the bride's head . . . it is a peculiar favour to obtain the smallest crumb of this cake, which is known by the name of dreaming bread, as it possesses the talismanic virtue of favouring such as lay it below their pillow with a nocturnal vision of their future partner for life.
Lth. 1813 G. Bruce Poems 102:
The dreaming-bread was dealt about Amang the lassies cheerie; An' fient ane there, but dream't nae doubt, That night about her dearie.

Dreaming-bread n. comb.

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"Dreaming-bread n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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