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[bairn; Scot. beyrn] /bɛərn; Scot. beɪrn/
noun, Scot. and North England.
a child; son or daughter.
Origin of bairn
before 900; Middle English bern, barn, Old English bearn; cognate with Gothic, Old Norse, Old High German, Old Saxon, barn, Old Frisian bern, Middle Dutch baren, Albanian me barrë pregnant; akin to Lithuanian bérnas boy, fellow, bear1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for bairn
Historical Examples
  • Nay, verily, I was a child before; all by-gones are but bairn's play.

    Letters of Samuel Rutherford Samuel Rutherford
  • "I don't so very well like the look o' the bairn," she said, surveying him carefully.

  • "We've welded America already into the clan, dear bairn," smiled Mrs. Cameron.

  • Madam was wantin' a last look at her bairn—eh, she did, poor thing!

    The Light of Scarthey Egerton Castle
  • But, May, my bairn, the guid man's sleeping wi' downright fatigue.

  • Gie a bairn his will, and a whelp its fill, and nane o' them will e'er do weel.

    The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop
  • Eh, but sic maun be sair affrontit wi' themsels, that disgrace at ance the wife that should hae been and the bairn that shouldna!

    Salted With Fire George MacDonald
  • Were you sighing because so many of your years lie behind you, my bairn?

    Janet's Love and Service Margaret M Robertson
  • Yes; this bairn Anne, Mrs. Ross, as you see, has been misbehaving herself.

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
  • Hath he no the smooth face o' a bairn and the thews' o' Behemoth?'

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for bairn


/bɛən; Scottish bern/
(Scot & Northern English) a child
Word Origin
Old English bearn; related to bearm lap, Old Norse, Old High German barn child
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bairn

"child" (of any age), Old English bearn "child, son, descendant," probably related to beran ("to bear, carry, give birth;" see bear (v.)). Originally not chiefly Scottish, but felt as such from c.1700. This was the English form of the original Germanic word for "child" (see child). Dutch, Old High German kind, German Kind are from a prehistoric *gen-to-m "born," from the same root as Latin gignere. Middle English had bairn-team "brood of children."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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