Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DEEM, Deam, n. Variant forms of Dame, q.v. Mainly ne.Sc. [dim]

1. A dame, an elderly woman (Abd.2, Abd.9 1940; Bch. 1891 J. Forrest in Trans. Bch. Field Club II. 12); also used prefixed to the surname as in arch. and dial. Eng. Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 61:
Hid fell on a Yeul mornin', Deem Lavrock . . . lay on her bed.
Abd. 1933 J. H. Smythe Blethers 13:
Misertoon's mither — a cankert aul' deem —

2. A young woman (Abd.4 1929); an unmarried woman; a girl (Crm. 1911 J. Watson W.-L., deam; Bwk. 1825 Jam.2, deam); dims. deemie, id., and deimack (Rs. (Avoch) 1949 Gsw. Herald (7 Feb.)), deemachie (Rs.1 c.1911), a little girl. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.2 1940. Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 140:
An' noo the deem's mae winsome wife, An' we hae bairns twa.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 95:
The deems were peenin' on their duds.
Abd. 1928 Mains and Hilly in Abd. Press and Jnl. (8 Nov.) 6/3:
I min' on a deemie he wis coortin' fin I kent 'im.

3. Specifically applied in ne.Sc. to a kitchen-maid on a farm. Often in comb. kitchie deem. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.27 1947. Bnff. 1924 Burnie's Jeannie in Swatches 19:
The deem telt me auld Burnie cam intill the kitchie.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 40:
Weel, syne we hae the kitchie deem, that milks an' maks the maet.

[Deme, deame, etc., irreg. variants of dame, are found in O.Sc. a.1400. The form deemachie is a double dim.]

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"Deem n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jul 2020 <>



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