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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).

CALM, CAUM, Cawm, Cam, Calme, Camb, Caulm, Kaam, Kam, n. [kɑ(:)m, kǫ(:)m]

1. A matrix or mould; esp. a bullet-mould (Sc. 1808 Jam., calmes, caums; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1914 Angus Gl., kaam; Cai.1 c.1920, cawms, calms; Abd.2 1938, cams; Clydes. 1880 Jam.5, kaam); “wooden moulds for horn spoons” (Kcb. 1938 (per Kcb.9), caums). Mostly used in pl. so that the pl. has come to be regarded as a sing. Now obs. in Eng. (N.E.D.).Sc. 1701–1731 R. Wodrow Analecta (Maitland Club 1843) III. 18:
I have as much of him as I could expect to have of one of his years; he fills all my calms.
ne.Sc.(D) 1921 J. Wight in Swatches o' Hamespun 16:
A leed bullet cassen by brookie poorin' molten leed inen a cams.
Abd. after 1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shepherd MS. 53:
For there he says, fouk's casten o'er again An' come out o' the caumse right Gentlemen.
Abd.(D) 1877 W. Alexander North. Rural Life in 18th Cent. xx.:
The wooden “caums,” wherein the horn — cut up and partly dressed — after being reduced to a state of greater pliability by heating, was moulded into the form of a “cutty.” [Also spelt cambs, chap. xxii.]

2. “A small iron pan used for holding the melted grease from which rushlights were made” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn., kam); “an iron ladle in which lead, tallow, etc., are melted” (Uls. 1924 (2nd ed.) W. Lutton Montiaghisms 13, caulm, cawm).

[O.Sc. calmis, cawmis, calmes, kams, moulds for casting bullets or other articles of metal, earliest quot. 1526 (D.O.S.T.). Origin obscure.]

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"Calm n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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