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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLITHEMEAT, BLYTHEMEAT, Blithmeat, Blyth Meat, Blide-maet, -meat, Blyde-maet, n.

1. A thanksgiving feast after the birth of a child.Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. Ork. Par. (1922) Gl.:
Blide-maet, blithe-meat, joy feast after a birth.
Rnf. 1840 J. Mitchell Wee Steeple's Ghaist 153:
A blythemeat wad, or I've nae skill, Turn sad-meat very soon, man. Unless the produce o' the still Was freely circling roun', man.
Lnk. 1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 19; Lnk.3 1935:
Ye's a get bread an cheese to the blyth meat.
Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers in North. Whig, Lecture v.:
The usual term applied for an entertainment provided upon the birth of a child was “blith-meat.”

2. “Blithmeat. The meat distributed among those who are present at the birth of a child, or among the rest of the family” (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sh.(D) 1891 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 100; Sh.7 1935:
Whin Aedie üt da blyde-maet for himsell An her, pür lass, 'at dan belanged ta him.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Blide-meat, food provided for visitors at a house where a child has been born. Also of food brought as a gift to the new mother.
Ags. 1823 A. Balfour in Edinburgh. Mag. (June) 683/2; Slg.3 1916; Lnk.3 1935:
Syne we had the blithe-meat — fine, rich buttered saps, an' capfu's o' nappy ale, that gart our lugs crack.

3. “A piece of cake or shortbread or bread and cheese carried by a mother who is taking her baby to church to be christened. It was handed to the first person the mother met” (Gsw.1 c.1870).

4. The drink provided at a “blithemeat.”Ayr. 1932 Folk Lore XLIII. 338:
Either some dainty or a drink of whisky should be given to those in attendance at a birth, immediately after the arrival of the child. This is called blythe (or blythe's) meat.

5. Attrib.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 236–237:
I min' when his Bonny Betty was in the strae, he coft a blithemeat cheese, an' carried it to her manfully thro' the town on his head.

[From Blithe, adj., cf. Combs. s.v.]

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



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