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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

-SOME, suff. 1. As in Eng., but more freq and productive in Sc., forming adjs.: (1) with nouns and verbs in an active and passive sense, implying “inclined to, full of, causing or caused by” and corresp. in many cases to the synonymous Eng. adj. in -ful, e.g. Angersome, Awsome, boosam (= Eng. buxom), Chawsome, deavesome (Deave), derksome (Derk), dinsome (Din, n.), dreesome (Dree, v.2), dreidsome (Dreid), Fearsome, fleysome (Fley), Gruesome, Hatesum, kythesome (Kythe), Leesome, adj.1, luvesome (Luve), stawsome (Staw), Ugsome, waesome s.v. Wae; (2) with simple adjs., gen. with a modifying or dim. force = rather, somewhat, as in Brichtsome (obs. in Eng.), dowiesome (Dowie), drearysome (Dreary), eeriesome (Eerie), Forritsome, Heavysome, Lanesome, Lichtsome (obs. in Eng.), ooriesam (Oorie), queersome rouchsome (Rouch), youngsome. The formation has fallen into disuse in Eng., and many examples are now in dial. currency only, while in Sc. the suffix produced many new literary or nonce forms in the 18th and 19th-cs., e.g. Branksome, Couthsome, Dootsum, Drysome, Fykesome, Gamesome, Kaiksome, Likesome, mainsome (Mense), rauclesome (Raucle), ruesome (Rue). The suffix occas. replaces Eng. -ous in words of Latin orig. as in Clamersome, Tedisome.

2. As a suffix after cardinal numbers to denote a group, company, team, etc. of that number together or thought of as a unit. The usage is now most common in regard to setts in country-dancing and in golf, from which it has passed into St. Eng. See Auchtsome, Echtsome, Fivesome, FowerSome, Ninesome, six(teen)some (Six), thirty-twosome (Thirty), twasome (Twa).

[The suffix derives from O.E. sum, some(one), used as in 1., though not freq., e.g. langsum, lasting, wilsum, delightful, wynnsum, pleasant; as in 2., after numerals in the gen., as feowera sum, sixa sum, one of four or six, one and three or five others.]

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"-some suffix". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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