Area of origin

Scotland and N England

Area of use

Scotland and N England

Hillside or steep bank.

A slope or hill, more specifically the brow of same. Famous braes include “Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonnie Doon” – song by Robert Burns – and the “Electric Brae” in South Ayrshire which looks to be running uphill but is, in fact, running downhill (and vice versa) due to an optical illusion relating to the surrounding landscape. [Underquark]


Middle English. brã – Old Norse. brá ‘eyelash’ = Old English bræw ‘eyelid’

The sense-development is parallel to that of ‘brow’

Example locations

  • Skara Brae
    Sandwick, Orkney
  • Electric Brae
    Maybole, South Ayrshire

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Entry contributors:

Jill Forrest, Underquark