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English and Scottish: from Middle English bird, brid ‘nestling’, ‘young bird’ (Old English bridd), applied as a nickname or perhaps occasionally as a metonymic occupational name for a bird catcher. The metathesized form is first found in the Northumbrian dialect of Middle English, but the surname is more common in central and southern England. It may possibly also be derived from Old English burde ‘maiden’, ‘girl’, applied as a derisory nickname.