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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

BIRSE, BIRS, BIRZ(E), Brize, n.2, v.2 [bɪ̢̈rz, bʌrz]

1. n.

(1) A bruise.Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie III. xxxiv.:
My brother has met wi' a severe birz and contusion, and he's in a roving fever.

(2) Pressure, esp. that of a crowd; a struggle, implying resistance to some pressure; a push.Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Birse, brize. The act of pressing; often used to denote the pressure made by a crowd; as, “We had an awfu' birse.”
Abd. 1895 G. Williams Sk. of Scarbraes 48–49:
I'm nae able to follow a pu'pit prayer. Gie's a wordie o' guid rough hameowre wark, for I'll hae a geyan rough birs afore I get warslet thro'.
Bch. 1925 (per Abd.15):
It wis a gey birze, shivvin against the win'.
Ags. 1881 T. Blyth in Edwards Mod. Sc. Poets II. 98:
The sairest birse I'd warsal throu'.
Ags.(D) 1922 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden xvii.:
He gae his hat a birz on.

(3) In dim. form birzie, a lump of faeces, a turd (Ags. 1961), a child's word.

2. v.

(1) To bruise.Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie v.:
Look at my lug whar the brute struck me — it's birzed black and blue.

ppl.adj. birsed, birset, birzed, bruised.Sc. 1830 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 16:
Like a heap o' bashed and birzed paddocks walloped intil the ditch.
Sc.(E) 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms li. 17:
A birset heart an' a tholin breast, O God, ye will ne'er leuk by.
Abd. 1890 G. Williams in Mod. Sc. Poets XIII. 91:
Syne leeshed awa', an' left him there, Bumbaized an' birsed an' bleedin sair Wi' dirds and dunts he got.

(2) To push; press; squeeze.Sc. 1793 “Tam Thrum” Look before ye Loup 27:
If they birze forward into stations that they canna fill they'll be despised.
Sh.(D) 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 147:
I birz'd da tabakka doon i' me pipe.
Mry. 1913 R. Cairns Gatherings of Moraysh. Dial. in Kenilworth Mag. II. iii. 55:
An old farmer's advice to his son who was going out into the world was “Aye birse yont,” and no doubt he did push ahead.
Bnff.(D) 1918 J. Mitchell Bydand 23:
Ca'in' up the kirn, Or birsin' doon the chassel [cheese press] fin ye've got the milk tae yirn.
Hdg. 1819 R. Gall Poems 32:
He heard a boo ahint a hedge, While Meg birsed through wi' speed, tho' thorny.
wm.Sc. [1835] Laird of Logan (1868) 307:
Do you ken that you woud birze my balloon sleeves out of a' shape.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 149:
He . . . birzed them doon wi' the heel o' his contempt. vbl.n. birsing.
Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 17:
No one could be blamed for this birsing yont the encircling hills.

[From O.E. brȳsan, to crush, which afterwards coalesced with O.Fr. bruiser, brisier. The Sc. met. form is found in O.Sc. from the end of the 14th cent.]

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"Birse n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



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