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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LANGSOME, adj. Also -som, -sum, -sam(e). Sc. forms of Eng. longsome. [′lɑŋsəm]

1. As in Eng., long, lengthy, protracted, tedious, tiresomely long (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Adv. langsumelie (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Used substantively in phr. ¶i' the langsam, at length, finally.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. ii.:
But rather think ilk langsome Day a Year, Till I with pleasure mount my Bridal-bed.
Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 90:
Now fourteen years their longsome space had run.
Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (1905) 246:
Oh! fierce Dalziel! they ruthless rage Wrought langsome misery.
Mry. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 46:
The langsome Winter chill'd his heart.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 57:
Now pull a langsum face, and swift ascend the auld kirk stair.
Edb. 1878 A. Maclagan Songs and Ball. 46:
How glad they make ilk eerie place, How short the langsome miles.
Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 31:
I resolved tae draw near an' nearer, an' i' the langsam fa' into a crack.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 122:
The women dinna like tae work the thrawcrook, an' say it's langsome twinin' rapes.
Sc. 1928 T. T. Alexander Psalms xl. 1:
O, dreich the langsome tryst I dree'd Wi' God the Lord, my lane.
Sc. 1991 R. Crombie Saunders in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 29:
"Och, God, sae dowf an langsum
The days gang by for me!
It's anely at a yirdin
Hae we onything to see."

2. Lonely, forlorn, wearied with tedium (Bnff., Per. 1880 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1960). Hence langsomeness, loneliness (Bnff., Per. 1880 Jam.), tedium.Sc. 1805 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) XII. 276:
Langsameness is not listlessness but loneliness or lonesomeness — it is still in common use.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 100:
The langsumness o' the place wiz like t' gar me rin awa.
Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 32:
We like this place very well, but it is some langsome, and nobody near us.
Mry. 1898 J. Slater Idylls 106:
I'm langsome sometimes for want o' ma dear little Mary.

3. Tardy, dilatory (Rnf. 1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 747; Sh. 1960); procrastinating (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 153). Hence langsomeness, n.Sc. 1704 Atholl MSS. (11 July):
I have forbid him to stay on my sone's dispatch he is allways so langsom.
Sc. 1715 Letters relating to the '15 (1730) 78:
When I came to Argour, I wrote to Lochyeal to tryst me where to meet him . . . he is rather to be pitied than quarrelled for his Longsomeness.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 393:
You have not been longsome, and foul farren both. Spoken to them that have done a Thing in great Haste.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 35:
Ye're sae langsome in writing your friend.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 81:
The langsome lad might hing about, I'm thinkin' he wad weary o't.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 10:
Ir we ta wait ony langer for a langsom trooker laek dee?
Gall.1 1933:
If one is late in keeping an appointment, one is apt to be reproached for being “langsome.”

[Lang, adj. + -Some, suff. O.Sc. langsum, tedious, 1456, tardy, 1543, langsumnes, tediousness, c.1420.]

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"Langsome adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Jun 2023 <>



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