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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.

LOOM, n.2  Also lum (Jak.); lomen (Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 53); and ne.Sc. forms leam, leem (see P.L.D. § 128). Dim. loomie. [lu:m, ne.Sc. li:m]

1. The red-throated diver or rain-goose, Colymbus stellatus, or the great northern diver, Colymbus immer (Bnff. 1848 Zoologist VI. 2295; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Ork., Abd. 1961). Now adopted in Eng. Comb. loomashon, -gen, -ghin [′lumɑtʃən], a small loch where the bird breeds, common as an Ork. 1862 Fraser's Mag. (Feb.) 156:
I've seen them [Eskimo boats] dancin' thro' the jabble … as skeely as a loom or a deuk.
ne.Sc. 1880 J. Skelton Crookit Meg viii.:
“There's a leam fishing in St. Catherine's Dub”, he would say, pointing to a deep gash in the rocks.
I.Sc. 1883 J. R. Tudor Ork. and Sh. 659:
Small tarns or lochs amongst the hills, supposed to be so called from being the breeding-places of the Looms or Rain-geese.
Ork. 1891 Buckley & Harvie-Brown Fauna Ork. 38, 261:
Besides the lochs there are a number of much smaller ones, locally called “Loom-a-shons, or Loom-a-gens.” … We … found a nest containing two eggs on the edge of one of the “brulochans,” or, as they term them in Orkney, “Loomagens.”
Ork. 1915 Old-Lore Misc. VIII. iv. 177:
The Loomie, Raingoose, or the Red-throated Diver (colymbus septentrionalis) is a bird of considerable interest … The lochs frequented by them were named Loomaghins.

2. The common guillemot, Uria aalge (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1951 Sh. Folk-Bk. II. 30, Sh. 1990s); appar. by confusion with lomwee s.v. Longie. Sh. 1992 Bobby Tulloch A Guide to Shetland's Breeding Birds 59:
(Uria aalge)
shet: Loom or Longvie

[Norw. dial. lom, O.N. lómr, = 1. Loomashon is from O.N.* lóma-tjǫrn, the loom-tarn or loch. The variant form loon also applied to 1. is Eng. The form lomen appears to be the Norw. word with the suff. art.]

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"Loom n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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