A besom is a broom made of twigs tied around a stick, though in Scottish & Northern English it’s also a derogatory term for a woman or girl.

‘A scrawny, buttermilk-faced young besom, allus askin’ questions an’ pokin’ tha’ nose where it wasna’ wanted.’

 

Source: Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, illus. Inga Moore (London: Walker Books, 2009) (1911), p. 239

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