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What's a Braid Letter

GUEST,Judy Cook 08 Apr 07 - 11:07 AM
Jim Lad 08 Apr 07 - 11:17 AM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM
katlaughing 08 Apr 07 - 11:42 AM
Jim Lad 08 Apr 07 - 12:09 PM
Barry Finn 08 Apr 07 - 12:20 PM
Jim Lad 08 Apr 07 - 12:59 PM
Old Grizzly 08 Apr 07 - 02:19 PM
Lighter 08 Apr 07 - 06:07 PM
Jack Campin 08 Apr 07 - 06:13 PM
Malcolm Douglas 08 Apr 07 - 08:33 PM
Jim Lad 08 Apr 07 - 08:43 PM
leeneia 08 Apr 07 - 09:25 PM
Jim Lad 09 Apr 07 - 12:23 AM
Malcolm Douglas 09 Apr 07 - 01:19 AM
GUEST,Hetty Bio 23 Feb 15 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Hetty Bio 23 Feb 15 - 03:41 PM
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Subject: What's a Braid Letter
From: GUEST,Judy Cook
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 11:07 AM

I assume it's a broad letter, but I still don't know the significance of it. It pops up in lots of ballads.

Thanks!
Judy


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 11:17 AM

Didn't that refer to the braiding around the envelope, designed to forewarn the recipient of the type of news inside.
Johnny Cash's "Letter Edged in Black" would be a more modern example.
News of the death of a loved one would come in an envelope with black trim.
Mass Cards, for those who know of them, still come in such envelopes.
"Braided" is the correct term, I think.


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM

The standard dictionary definition is 1. a letter on a broadsheet. 2. a long letter. (Warrack, Scots Dialect Dictionary). 'Braid' being here the Scots pronounciation of 'broad' rather than the quite separate word 'braid' (plait, narrow band of woven fabric, etc).


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 11:42 AM

I have an envelope edged in black, with a notice inside, which was sent to my grandmother's ladies society when Pres. Garfield was shot.


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 12:09 PM

So, "Braid" & "Braided" then?


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 12:20 PM

Hi Judy
I did see it discribed as an open letter but can't find the reference anymore, but by what it meant by open it didn't say.
It's found in at least three ballads, Lang Johnny Moir, Glenlogie & Sir Patrick Spence. I got to wondering about it's meaning maybe an open letter as in to be read aloud of in pulblic, I can't say. I do like Jim Lads take on it though.

See you, hopefully soon, somewhere

Barry


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 12:59 PM

I was thinking about "Sir Patrick Spence" just before I read Barry's contribution and was sure there was a "Braid Letter" in there.
In that context, Barry's right on and an opened letter could well be described as "Broad".
Malcolm got it right, straight away.
Keep in mind, I was referring to a "Braided" letter. Different word.
Those from Scotland & Ireland will surely know that Malcolm & Myself (Jim Brannigan) are from entirely different cultures within Scotland, just by our names.
The difference in opinions is, in my mind, somewhat related to our cultural diversities. Piece of trivia, that!


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Old Grizzly
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 02:19 PM

"I have an envelope edged in black, with a notice inside, which was sent to my grandmother's ladies society when Pres. Garfield was shot"

My Mother sent me one like that the day Blair got into power :o)

Dave


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 06:07 PM

The Oxford Engish Dictionary gives no example of either "broad letter" or "braid letter." "Braid" may simply mean "wide," that is, written on a notably wide parchment. (This would be especially apt if the parchment had to be unrolled or unscrolled for reading.) That certainly seems to be the most obvious interpretation.

Warrack's "an official letter" seems to get little support from either Oxford or the Scottish National Dictionary. He may have simply derived that definition from "Sir Patrick Spens"


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 06:13 PM

If you look at old Scottish documents, a lot of the really official ones are landscape format (sometimes with many attached signatures and seals). The Declaration of Arbroath is an example. So maybe it just means the shape.


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:33 PM

I don't know Warrack's source, but it will have been more than just 'Patrick Spens'; the term was a ballad commonplace, after all. As a commonplace, it may have no more contextual meaning than 'wee penknife' or 'milk-white hand' do; but the entry from Child's glossary bears selective quoting:

'braid (broad) letter ... either a letter on a broad sheet or a long letter ... [here he refers to examples where letters are 'lang' or 'large'] ... A braid letter has been interpreted to be an open one, a patent, but in almost every case here cited the letter is said to be sealed ... [further references].'

It may be that the term was little used except as a ballad convention, and there is no more to it than Jack suggests. Certainly any guess based on the coincidental similarity of the unrelated word 'braid' (as in plaited hair, ribbon etc) is not really a starter.


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Jim Lad
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:43 PM

"as in plaited hair, ribbon etc" ?!! No, I wouldn't suggest "Braid" meant that either.


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: leeneia
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 09:25 PM

Here's another thought: in addition to the usual meaning of "broad" (Scots) my dictionary says there is an obsolete use meaning "deceitful." How does that fit?


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Jim Lad
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 12:23 AM

Disnae!


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 01:19 AM

And I'd second that. Dictionaries are great, but only if you pay proper attention to context and etymology. 'Braide' (deceitful, dissembling) seems to have been an English rather than Scots usage, and is generally considered to derive from the same linguistic root as 'Braid' (plait, etc), whereas broad/braid has a quite different derivation.

And Jim: you certainly did suggest that 'braid' referred to braiding; which is the same as plaiting, whether applied to hair, ribbon, or the sort of fabric that might be used to edge a letter. I've never heard of the term 'braid' used in that last context, or adjectivally at all (surely it is always 'braided'); which is why I'm convinced that your suggestion was wrong -beside, of course, the fact that the simple and obvious answers are usually the right ones.


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: GUEST,Hetty Bio
Date: 23 Feb 15 - 03:35 PM

braid (broad) letter is just a letter on a wide sheet and taken into consideration the poem "sir patrick spens" the braid letter was written and signed by the king showing its urgency and authenticity


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Subject: RE: What's a Braid Letter
From: GUEST,Hetty Bio
Date: 23 Feb 15 - 03:41 PM

braid (broad) letter is just a letter on a wide sheet and taken into consideration the poem "sir patrick spens" the braid letter was written and signed by the king showing its urgency and authenticity


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