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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BROO, Brew, Brow, n.2 Also brou[bru:]

1. The eyebrow; the forehead; transf. boldness, self-confidence. Obs. in Eng. Gen.Sc. Also used fig. Cf. Bree, n.3Sc. 1834 H. Miller Scenes 324:
If I had only your brow, I would willingly go first mysel.
Sc. 1928 J. Wilson Hamespun 37:
My lugs hing lank, my broos are grey; My teeth my mony years betray.
Sc. 2000 Herald 9 Dec 29:
It was all going pear-shaped for the Scots until Freskin, lying wounded, saw a horseshoe conveniently close by and sent it spinning, Frisbee-style, at the Norse commander, catching him square on the broo and ending the contest.
ne.Sc. 1929 M. W. Simpson Day's End 11:
Wi' starlicht white as a deid haun' laid On the still, black broos o' Nicht!
ne.Sc. 1991 Ken Morrice in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 59:
Sae dabbit wi floor and stew,
wi guff o yeast, a duntin nieve
and sweaty broo,
I wroch and wrastle
wi the hail stramash.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 11:
The sweat used tae lash aff mi brew whin it came tae unloading the trawl boxes of haddock, whiting, cod, tusk and black-jacks. I wis fair packered.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 9:
An on their brous the Saviour's grace
Like aipple blossom blumes an blaws.
Edb. 1864 A. Logan Auld Reekie Musings 64:
An' I will deck thy bonnie broo Wi' flow'rs frae aff the lea, Katy.
Slk. 1991 Harvey Holton in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 132:
Heich owre hazel-shaw, owre hedder oo hechle
sweit staunan sterk oan body an brou,
drookit by drizzle frae alien airts
oo schauchle tae shelter tae pick at oor piece.

Hence adj. broo'd in combs., e.g. lily broo'd.m.Sc. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls o' Hame 108:
But braw days are coming wi' lily broo'd Spring.

Phr.: to lat doon a broo, “to show displeasure” (Bnff.2 1936; Abd.7 1925). Also to lat or put doon a broo (Ork., Ags. 1975).Abd. 1974 F. Garry Bennygoak 33:
Folk humft an glumft . . . Thraa'd their moos, lat doon their broos.
Lnk. 1880 Cld. Readings (Short) 146:
Dinna look fierce or put doon your broos at me.

2. The crest and/or slope of a hill. Gen.Sc. except Abd. Cf. Brae, n.1Sh. 1926–1928 Lowrie on Vitamins in Shet. Times:
We coms till a broo.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae 'Tween Clyde and Tweed 69:
It winds through a nick on Glenhichton's broo, The road that leads to the vale o' rest.
Gall. 1930 (per Wgt.3):
He ran doun the broo an' into the hazel wud.

Comb.: broolan', the slope of a hill.Abd. 1900 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (27 Oct.):
She saw you climbin' the broolan'.

3. The overhanging bank of a river (Lnk.3 1936).Dmf. (Upper Annandale) 1933 (per Dmf.8):
They [the fish] come oot aneth the broos fair jowlin.
Uls. 1904 J. W. Byers in Victoria Coll. Mag. 41:
He always takes good care of himself, “He swims near the broo” (bank).
Tyr. 1928 “Mat Mulcaghey” Ballymulcaghey (1929) viii.:
They lifted poor Dimlick out on the brew.

4. A (moss) bank.Sh.(D) 1891 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 61:
“Weel Boy!” I says, “Foo feels du noo?” Wi dis he linns him on a broo, An rubs his rig.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 53:
Twa' mile she ran afore she bridle drew, An' syn she lean'd her down upon a brow.

5. The brim, top of a vessel. Ant. 1928 The Irish Breeder 18: An ugly-shaped beast is still a gid coo If she fills nine quarts reamin' foo tae the broo.

6. The top or surface level of a peat-bank (Sh. 1975). Sh. 1937 J. Nicolson Yarns 54:
The cutting was what is termed "a three-peat bank," which meant that it was between five and six feet from the "greff" or bottom to the "broo" or top.

[O.Sc. brow, brou, Mid.Eng. brow, O.E. brú, pl. bru(w)a (Sweet), meaning orig. eyebrow, then early applied to the eyelashes. Later extended again to eyebrows, then brow, then brow of a hill, etc.]

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"Broo n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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