brewis n also brews(e), broose, bruis, bruise, bruse [phonetics
unavailable]. Cp OED ~ 2 " 'bread soaked in boiling fat pottage, made of salted
meat"  (J.)'; cp EDD sb 2 'bread or oatcake soaked in hot water'; DC
Nfld (cl850 [sic = 1960], 1906-). See also FISH n: FISH AND BREWIS, FISHERMAN'S
1 Sea-biscuit or 'hard tack' soaked in water and
then boiled; such a dish cooked with salt cod and fat pork.
[(1766) 1971 BANKS 137 It is a Soup made with a small quantity of
salt Pork cut into Small Slices a good deal of fish and Biscuit Boyled for about an
hour.] 1858 [LOWELL] ii, 273 Putting a check upon their own curiosity, they had some tea
and brewse [L's note: ship-bread soaked into a pulp in warm water] made in the best art
of the ship's cook. 1895 J A Folklore viii, 28 Brews ... is a dish which occupies
almost the same place at a Newfoundlander's breakfast-table that baked beans are supposed
to do on that of a Bostonian. It consists of pieces of hard biscuit soaked over night,
warmed in the morning, and then eaten with boiled codfish and butter. 1905 DUNCAN ix-x
'Broose' is a toothsome dish resembling boiled hard-tack. 1908 HUBBARD 242 'Bruise' for
breakfast. Hard tack, fish, pork, boiled togethergood. 'Two more early risin's, and
then duff and bruise,' is said to be a Thursday remark of the fishermen. 1920 GRENFELL
& SPALDING 23-4 All right-minded Newfoundlanders and Labradormen call it [brewis]
'bruse.' 1924 ENGLAND 117 'Fish an' brewis, how many youse?' It rhymed, for brewis is
pronounced 'bruise.' 1933 GREENLEAF (ed) 250 "Change Islands Song": No sign of salmon on
that shore; discouraging was the news; / No pirate money could be found, and not a fish
for brewis. 1936 DULEY 56 Isabel had a chicken to draw, a jam tart to make, brewis to put
in soak for the Sunday morning breakfast. 1937 DEVINE 5 'Brewis,' a once popular morning
meal composed of broken hard biscuit soaked in water over night, boiled with small pieces
of salt codfish and served up with melted fat pork, evidently came from Scotland... In
the old days in St John's, when the merchants lived over their stores on Water Street,
they all used to have brewis for breakfast on Sunday morning. It was a light meal,
palatable and easy of digestion... The fisherman followed the merchant more from
necessity than choice ... and most days of the week, as well as Sunday, saw brewis used
all over the country. 1955 DOYLE (ed) 11 "A Noble Fleet of Sealers": Tho' Newfoundland is
changing fast, / Some things we must not lose, / May we always have our Flipper pie, /
And Codfish for our brewis. T 75/6-64 [We'd] carry a stock o' hard bread, and [when] the
soft bread'd be gone make brewis out o' the hard bread. T 43/8- 64 There was no fresh
meats, no baloney, no fresh fishyou'd get salt fish Fridays, salt fish and brewis
2 Phr have a head like a brewis-bag: to be
C 67-14 'He has a head like a brewis bag'
[meaning] could not 'hold' or retain anything.
brewis: dignified, unbending.
C 65-2 ~ said about a person who
walks [in a] dignified [manner] and is supposed to be proud.
3 Comb brewis bag, ~ net: net-like bag in which
sea-biscuit is soaked in water and then boiled.
1966 SCAMMELL 26
Mary, intimidated at last by his threat of boarding out, took down the brewis-bag and
went out to fill it [with hard tack]. 1979 TIZZARD 269 The brewis was always cooked in a
brewis net and lifted from the cooking pot and placed in the cullender which rested on a
plate, in order that all the water would drain.