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[bur-nee] /ˈbɜr ni/
noun, Armor.
a coat of mail; hauberk.
Origin of byrnie
1325-75; Middle English byrny, Scottish variant of brynie, brinie < Old Norse brynja, cognate with Old English byrne coat of mail, Old High German brunnia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for byrnie
Historical Examples
  • But Blacktooth's byrnie was good, nor did the sword bite into it.

    Eric Brighteyes H. Rider Haggard
  • He had but one arm, for the other was hewn from him, and the byrnie on his left side was red with blood.

    Eric Brighteyes H. Rider Haggard
  • It entered his side through a cleft in his byrnie and pierced him deep.

    Eric Brighteyes H. Rider Haggard
  • The defensive armour consisted of helmet, shield, and byrnie.

  • It is true that only one trace of a byrnie, and that apparently not of ring-mail, has so far been found in an Anglo-Saxon grave.

    Beowulf R. W. Chambers
  • The Anglo-Saxon poets let us know that chieftains and warriors wore a body defence, which they call a byrnie or a battle-sark.

  • She deplores the byrnie, shield and helm, symbols of her godhead, that he has torn from her.

  • In early Saxon times, a protective garment called a byrnie was worn by the leaders.

  • Thorwald Thorwaldson tottered and went down, for a hurled axe had cleft him between helm and byrnie.

    The Path of the King John Buchan
  • The blow falls on his shield, and shears off the side of it, then strikes the byrnie beneath, but lightly.

    Eric Brighteyes H. Rider Haggard
British Dictionary definitions for byrnie


an archaic word for coat of mail
Word Origin
Old English byrne; related to Old Norse brynja, Gothic brunjō, Old High German brunnia coat of mail, Old Irish bruinne breast
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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