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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BREEKUMS, Breekum, Breekims, n. [′brikʌm(z), ′brikɪmz]

1. In pl. Short or scanty trousers; knee breeches (occasionally in sing. in this sense). Known to Abd.9 1935.Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. of Sc. Life and Char. 17; Ags.1 1935:
His breekums were short by amaist a han'-breed.
Per. a.1843 J. Stewart Sketches (1857) 178:
The hame-spun breekum and the wyliecoat For me had mair attractive pleasantness.
Fif.10 1935:
C'wa an' pit on your bit breekums. Hurry noo!
Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 65:
Although the breekums on thy bodie Are e'en right raggit.

2. In sing. or pl. “A person of short stature” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 16); “an endearing name for a little boy” (Bnff.2 1935), cf. Breeklums.Bch. 1930 (per Abd.15):
Wee breekims is a gey man, isna he?
Per. 1904 R. Ford Hum. Sc. Stories (Ser. 2) 42:
Fond as baith o' us are o' the wee toddlin' breekums.

3. Combs.: (1) ¶breekum-braws, nice new trousers; ‡(2) breekum-foogie, “one wearing short or ragged trousers” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Add.); †(3) breekumstoich, “a short thick child in breeches” (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang.). Used attrib. in 1885 quot. Liter. (1) Edb. 1865 M. Barr Poems 77:
And then a merry time we had When ye in breekum-braws were clad.
(3) Slg. 1885 A. Murray Poems 10, 63:
O Thou wha art th' ghost o' Fintry, Wha flegs oor wee breekumstoich gentry. . . . In my breekumstoich skulegaun days.

[See etym. note to Breek, n.1, and for ending -um cf. Nickum.]

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"Breekums n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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