born v Past and past pple borned, rarely bornded [Back-formation from borned (at bear v 2a); senses 1-3 below seem to reflect different ideas of what the implied agent is in a sentence like “A child was born(ed).” Perh of Ir Engl origin; cf EDD borned v. (where the only active example is Irish) and quote 1837 at sense 1 below.] chiefly Sth, S Midl Cf borning n
1 To give birth to; broadly, to become the parents of (a child).
[1837 Sedgwick Live & Let Live 63, [Irish servant in NYC:] She fretted herself to death for that it was, and not borning the baby that killed her.] 1877 U.S. Congress Serial Set 1767 H.misdoc.34 6.194 neLA [Black], She borned a child along in June. A few days after the child was born she was up and about. 1895 Sun. Inter Ocean (Chicago IL) 17 Feb sec 3 28/7 Sth [Black], I gwine send M’lindy. I borned her an’ fotch her up, an gin her her raisins. 1911 DN 3.537 eKY, The mare borned a colt. 1926 Roberts Time of Man 344 KY, Who’s thought to born a brat of Joe Phillips in your house? 1933 Miller Lamb in His Bosom 142 GA, No woman could know, ’lessen she had borned one. 1936 (1951) Faulkner Absalom 339 MS, Two people neither of whom had taken pleasure or found passion in getting him or suffered pain and travail in borning him. c1938 in 1972 Amer. Slave 6.275 AL [Black], Then I ’dopted me a baby boy. A little bitty girl borned him, an’ she didn’t want him,—he was in her way. 1942 (1971) Campbell Cloud-Walking 16 seKY, To leave them at Sary’s till Marthy was done borning her baby. 1963 Owens Look to River 13 TX, “Jed’s might nigh like one of us, ain’t he, Basil?”. . . “Almost like we borned him.”
2 Of God, nature, a place: to be responsible (indirectly or metaphorically) for the birth of.
1870 Overland Mth. 4.316, Gen’lemen, ever since God borned me, every thing has petered out. Fust, I was cleaned out by the drought in Texas. Then I was captain of a dug-out ferry up on Snake-eye River. 1899 Ft. Wayne Weekly Sentinel (IN) 12 July 12/4, Mr. Dewey, that kid can’t help it. Nature borned him for a great temperance lecturer, and he loves water like a duck. 1899 San Antonio Daily Light (TX) 25 Oct /3 (newspaperarchive.com), Edward Atkinson is the abhorred of his day and generation. . . He is not an American, for he has denied his country and the land that borned him. 1901 Century Illustr. Mag. 62.906/2 TN [Black], Dis de lan’ dat borned him. 1926 Vollmer Sun-Up 78 wNC, I reckon these here hills that borned me, and nursed me kin take keer of me fer a little while.
3 To assist at the birth of, deliver (a child); hence vbl n borning.
1888 Kansas City Times (MO) 21 July 6/4, I was the family physician. I was present at the birth of Nellie Grant-Sartoris. I “borned” her, as I often say, and a sweeter girl never lived. 1919 DN 5.80 WA, “Whenever any children were born she had to born them.” In eulogy of a Skagit County nurse. 1939 Writers’ Program Guide Kentucky 429, “Borning” was the job of a woman—usually a grandmother whose qualification was the number of children and grandchildren she had “borned.” 1949 Faulkner Knight’s Gambit 101 MS, He taken her in and fed her and nursed her and got help to born that child. 1951 Giles Harbin’s Ridge 6 KY, She had been a granny woman most of her days and had borned all the younguns up and down the ridge. 1967 Delta Democrat–Times (Greenville MS) 23 June /7 (newspaperarchive.com), His given name is Charles Lowry, for his father and the doctor in Meridian who “borned” him (as Coky Branton used to say). 1971 MT Std. (Butte) 18 Oct 12/2, McKay . . says a midwife “borned him” in Anaconda in 1894. His mother was a New Yorker and met his father while she was visiting the area. His father was a serious prospector and searched for gold in this country before Anaconda was even a town. 1977 Morrison Song of Solomon 244 [Black], Borned herself. I had very little to do with it. I thought they were both dead, the mother and the child.
4 chiefly as pres ppl: To be born. [Most exx reflect the once std use of the pres ppl of transitive verbs in a passive sense, as in “The house was (a-)building” for the now preferred construction “The house was being built.”] Note: The fig phr died a-borning as a cliché of chiefly journalistic writing is not treated here; it clearly originated as an allusion to the anecdote in quot 1837, which was widely circulated at the time.
1837 Ithaca Herald (NY) 4 Oct /3, A small lad, the son of a poor woman, went the other day for a minister to attend the funeral of his little brother. “Where did he live?” asked the minister. “He didn’t live,” answered the boy. . . “What made him die?” “Cause he didn’t live, poor thing.” “I mean what did he die of?” “He did’nt die of nothing.” “Did’nt die of nothing? How did he die then.” “Why, he died a borning, if you must know.” Herald and Sentinel. 1865 (1866) Locke Divers Views 375, Wat smilin babes hev bornded in that time, who hev sence growd up, good and bad men and wimen! 1928 in 1952 Mathes Tall Tales 55 sAppalachians, If ever’body was a-ponderin’ the Book thataway, they’d be souls a-bornin’ ever’ night. 1932 Faulkner Light in August 330 MS, They clotted about the square and before the jail—the clerks, the idle, the countrymen in overalls; the talk. It went here and there about the town, dying and borning again like a wind or a fire. 1962 Dykeman Tall Woman 53 NC (as of c1860), The baby was twenty-four hours a-borning. 1975 Chalmers Better 48 Smoky Mts., It isn’t easy to sing at the final service for . . the baby you have helped “A-borning.”
‡5 To deliver (a woman) of a baby.
1971 Foxfire Winter 261 nGA, Russ Ander’s wife, when she was borned [Foxfire editor: gave birth], it was a awful stormy night.