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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GUM, n.3, v.2

I. n. Dross, coal-dust, esp. that which comes off when coal is washed (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; m.Sc. 1955). Also attrib.Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 111:
Fling on the soot and nasty gum That makes them [potatoes] thrive.
Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVIII. 240:
And when thrown into a chimney, it [coal] is so brittle, that whenever it is touched, it turns into a powder or mere gum.
Arg. c.1835 in Colville (1909) 114:
My heart is a' to muilins minched, Brye, smuirach, daps, and gum.
Lnk. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 87:
Auld as I [bellows] am, an' black wi' dirt an' gum, I'd tak' in han' to blaw them up the lum.
Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 33:
Very small coal, e.g., what would pass through a riddle ½ inch or less in the mesh.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 10:
The muckle gum bing at Lorrainey wee pit.
Lnl. 1925 H. M. Cadell Rocks w.Lth. 353:
The mixed coal from the pit is now cleaned, washed, separated out and classified into round coal, “nuts” of various sizes, “pearls” and “duff” or “gum,” to render it available for different purposes.

Hence gummy, adj., covered with coal-dust (m.Sc. 1955).Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems 168:
With a . . . damp on his gummy brow, A miner sat.

II. v. In Mining: to remove the cuttings from an undercut in a coal-face (Sc. 1950 per Edb.6, “gumming is used of machine-cut, never of hand-cut coal”).

[Orig. doubtful. Phs. a variant of the form culm. See note to Coom, n.]

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"Gum n.3, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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