from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Ignorant, unlearned; belonging to the laity.
  • n. Coarse woolen cloth; hence, coarse clothing; a garment.
  • n. A kind of light stuff, of silk and wool.


  • I question much if Catharine ever has such a moment to glance on earth and its inhabitants as might lead her to listen to a coarse ignorant borrel man like me.

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • But what would the burning of a borrel ignorant burgess like me serve?

    The Fair Maid of Perth

  • But your honour is right; these minstrels are often jugglers, and possess the power of making their escape by means which borrel [Footnote: Unlearned.] folk like myself are disposed to attribute to necromancy.”

    Castle Dangerous

  • "Sweetling," he said, "meseemeth now all day long I have been fighting against raiment rather than men; no man withstood me in the battle, for that they feared the crown on my helm and the banner over my head; and when those good men of the town brought me the keys, how should I have known them from borrel folk but for their scarlet gowns and fur hoods?

    Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair

  • Thou wert ever of a tender conscience, son Wilkin, though thou hast but a rough and borrel bearing.

    The Betrothed


The word 'borrel' comes from an Old French word for a kind of rough clothing.