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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BREEM, Breme, n.1 ne.Sc. forms of St.Eng. broom, the shrub Cytisus (or Sarothamnus) scoparius. Cf. Brume. [brim]Abd.(D) 1920 G. P. Dunbar Guff o' Peat Reek 23:
I thackit rucks an' hooses tee wi' heather, strae, or breem.
Abd. 1987 Sheena Blackhall in Joy Hendry Chapman 49 56:
As weel with haud yon boundin Heilan burn
Or ban the gowd, that croons the simmer breem.

Hence breemie, adj., covered with broom.Bnff. 1929 “Sub Divo” in Abd. Press and Jnl. (18 Sept.) 6/5:
A breemie loan's a lyther tryst, like thon by Backie's park, Wi' twa — forbye the meen — an' Benachie.

Phr.: to sing the breem (Abd.15 1937 in Abd. Press and Jnl. (5 Jan.)) = to sing the broom, see Broom, n., 1.

Combs.: (1) breem bus', breme-buss, (a) a broom bush (Bnff.2 1935); (b) fig.: a simpleton; (2) breem-cow(e), a branch of broom (Bnff.2 1935). See Cow; (3) breem deevil, “an implement for rooting up broom” (Bnff.2 1935); (4) breem-reet, in phr., haud in breem-reet, “i.e. hold on firmly like a broom root” (Mry. 1914 R. Cairns in T.S.D.C. I.); (5) breem-thack'd, covered or thatched with broom (Bnff.2 1935).(1) (a) Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xiii.:
It's as fac's A'm here see, if A hadna gotten a grip o' the breem bus' on the bank, A'd 'av' been intae the watter head foremost.
(b) Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer II. xxi.:
I wantit to ken whether I was sic a breme-buss as I used to be.
(2) Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 363–364:
She can . . . mak' a horse o' a breem-cow or humlock-shaw.
Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 25:
She'll bleeze up like a breem-cowe eence she tummles tae the ploy.
(3) Abd.(D) 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 128:
Our suite of bedroom furniture consisted of . . . tramp picks, . . . graips, a “breem deevil,” and other articles.
(4) Abd.13 1914:
I once heard this at Gight Games. The tug of war was in operation when one of the spectators cried out “Haud in breem-reet.”
(5) Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 90:
An' thro' the breem-thack'd reef, in troth, The rain show'rs like a water bath.

[O.Sc. brume, brome, breum, the broom plant (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. brome, O.E. brōm, id. Cogn. are Du. brem and Low Ger. braam.]

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"Breem n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2023 <>



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