from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Prey, especially in cattle; booty; plunder.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
“To drive a spreagh [to plunder] or so, is no thievery,” said Balafre, “and that I will maintain when and how you dare.”
A man kens little till he's driven a spreagh of neat cattle (say) ten miles through a throng lowland country and the black soldiers maybe at his tail.
"To drive a spreagh [to plunder] or so, is no thievery," said
-- the mair especially, that they take pride in it, and reckon driving a spreagh (whilk is, in plain Scotch, stealing a herd of nowte) a gallant, manly action, and mair befitting of pretty* men (as sic reivers will ca 'themselves), than to win a day's wage by ony honest thrift.