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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BEEST, n. (Also used attrib. and in compounds.) The first milk of a cow after calving. When boiled to a thick subsistence, it resembles newly made cheese. When put into the oven, flavoured with salt or sugar, it solidifies into a softish cheese. In Cai. it means the curds or new cheese made from the first milking of a cow after calving. Variant forms.

1. Beest, beist, biest. [bist Sc. but Abd. + biʃt]Sc. 1808 Jam.,
beist; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.,
beest; Sh.4 1934; Abd.(D) 1767 R. Forbes Jnl. from London, etc. (1869) 14:
biest milk; Mearns 1825 Jam.2,
beist milk, beist cheese.
Cai.3 1933:
Man 'eres a waan; Humlag's near calvin an' 'en we'll hae beasty milk an' Kirsty'll mak some beest.

[O.Sc. beist, id. 1596, O.E. bēost. Mid. and mod.Ger. biest with same meaning.]

2. Beestin, beistyn, beastie, beesty, beestie. [′bistɪn, ′bisti]Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (7 July),
beesty-butter; Arg.1 1929,
beastie-milk; Lnk. 1825 Jam.2,
beistyn-cheese  (Arg. 1990s beestie cheese ); Ayr., Gall. 1887 Jam.6,
beestie-milk; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 52,
beestin' puddin'.
Abd.1 1933:
As sune as ye milk the coo, full a pint bottle wi' the beestins an pit owre the new caufie's thrapple; it's naiter's [nature's] feesick forbye maet tul'm. Wi' fat's left owre mak' the beestin cheese an' dinna forget raisins, an' ceenimin an' plenty broon sugar intul't.
[From beest above + suff. in, yn, prob. = verbal termination ing as in Eng. beesting(s) from O.E. bīesting, bsting (O.North. bēsting) as if from a v., *bīestan, to yield beest. The suffixes ie, y, may be reduced forms of ing if they do not come from suff. en = made of, derived from.]

3. Beesenin, beas(e)nin, beesin, bees'nin, beesnan, bastnin'.Ayr., Gall. 1887 Jam.6,
beasenin, beasnin; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 57,
beasenin; Kcb.1 1933,
bees(e)nin; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 52,
bees'nin, and 49, bastnin' [′bɑsnɪn]; Wgt., Kcb. 1988 W. A. D. and D. Riach A Galloway Glossary :
beesin, beesnin the first milk from a newly calved cow; Ant. 1931 J.C. in North. Whig and Belfast Post (14 Dec.) 9/5,

[In this set of variants the t of beestin has been lost by assimilation and absorption and another ending has been added, either en or ing. For assimilation of t cf. Bursen, pa.p. of burst, for Bursten.]

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"Beest n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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