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Alternative forms[edit]



brivet (third-person singular simple present brivets, present participle brivetting, simple past and past participle brivetted)

  1. (intransitive, Britain, West Midlands) To wander an area, or look through items, without specific purpose or to satisfy idle curiosity, especially in a furtive and illicit manner.
    Once Melanie had left the house, I entered her bedroom and began to brivet around.
    • 1920, Eric Leadbitter, Shepherd's warning, page 148:
      And all the time she'd be brivetting about on the sly with any good-for-nothing young rascals she could get hold on.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Particularly prevalent in the regional dialect of the West Midlands of England, and the Welsh border area.
  • Most often applied to a child's behaviour or that of pets and other animals.
  • Also used in the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border area in the context of jumble sales, Women's Institutes or Church 'sales of work'


  • Joseph Wright, The English Dialect Dictionary: Being the Complete Vocabulary of All Dialect Words Still in Use, Or Known to Have Been in Use During the Last Two Hundred Years; Founded on the Publications of the English Dialect Society and on a Large Amount of Material Never Before Printed,[1] Oxford University Press (1970), page 398:
    Brivet, a word often applied to children when they wander about aimlessly and turn over things.
  • Notes and Queries,[2] Oxford University Press (1899), page 329:
    Briveting.”—A friend of mine, a native of Oxford, in the course of conversation remarked, in reference to something for which he had been searching, that he had been “briveting” about London. Never having heard of the term before, and not []
  • Collections historical & archaeological relating to Montgomeryshire,[3], the Powys-land Club (1874), page 122:
    Brivit, to ferret after or search for a thing. A person told me that a certain discovery was made whilst a drawer was being brivited; ie, whilst its contents were being thoroughly inspected.
  • Horace Harman, Buckinghamshire dialect,[4] S. R. Publishers (1970), ISBN 9780854095810, page 141:
    BRIVIT — To fidget. Records of Bucks (VII, 288) gives the meaning as "to rummage," quoting its use at Winslow.
  • Bye-gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties, [5] (1907), page 54:
    A Shrewsbury clergyman lately heard the following in his parish: — 'Somebody's been "briviting" in my drawers. I do not know where anything is.'