Web grazing

I came across the word brigbori in a Welsh book I’m reading at the moment (Shamus Mulligan a’r Parot, gan Harri Parri) and was a bit puzzled by it at first. I guessed from the context that it means something like ‘to browse’, and my Welsh dictionary confirmed this – it means to browse or to nibble. It appears in the sentence:

“Gan ei bod hi’n bnawn eithriadol o braf penderfynodd Ceinwen ac Eilir gymrd eu ‘te Sul’ yn yr ardd: Ceinwen yn brigbori drwy y goedwig o dudalennau a ddaeth gyda’r papur Sul a’i gŵr yn gwylio’r pysgod aur yn nofio’n esmwyth ar hyd wyneb y llyn llonydd ac ambell un ohonynt, oherwydd y gwres, yn sugno’r awyr â’i geg.

This means something like, “As it was an exceptionally fine afternoon, Ceinwen and Eilir decided to take ‘Sunday tea’ in the garden: Ceinwen browsing through the forest of pages that came with the Sunday paper, and her husband watching the goldfish swimming quietly across the surface of the quiet lake, with some of them, because of the heat, sucking in air with their mouths.”

Brigbori is a combination of two words – brig (top, summit, twig) and pori (to graze), so could be interpreted as meaning “to graze across the top”, which is browsing is all about.

Brig appears in such expressions as brig y nos (dusk – “top of the night”), glo brig (open-cast coal – “top coal”), brigdorri (to prune – “to cut the top”), brigiad (outcrop), brigladd (to lop the tops – “to kill the top), briglwyd (hoary-headed – “grey top”).

Pori appears in poriant (pasture – also porfa) and porio (to pasture – obsolete). Pori is also used to mean ‘to browse the web’. or literally ‘to graze the web’, and the word for web browser is porwr (grazier, browser) – and old word put to new use.

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This entry was posted in Etymology, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

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