Scottish word of the week: Braw

Author Joan Linguard with a novel use of the word braw. Picture: Toby Williams
Author Joan Linguard with a novel use of the word braw. Picture: Toby Williams
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PREVALENT in both traditional and contemporary literature, braw has sustained popular appeal for several centuries.

Early usage of the word in literature can be traced to 1615, in A Chronicle of The Kings of Scotland (“cumlie yowth of braw statour”). Initially referring to an impressive physical appearance, the word has latterly become an umbrella term for a compliment of someone’s appearance or character (eg. “you’ve a braw suit on”). This Scotsman headline from an article published in 2006 gives a good indication of the broader meaning it has taken on.

Although less frequently heard in day-to-day conversation, braw remains widely known and understood among the majority of Scots - a recent poll listed braw among one of Scotland’s best-loved words.

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