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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TAUM, v., n. Also tawm, ta(a)m; ¶tawn. [tɑ:m]

I. v. To fall gently asleep, to faint, become unconscious (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Rare. Also in Eng. dial.

II. n. 1. A sudden feeling of faintness, a drowsy or sick turn (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor).

2. A fit of rage, a bad temper, a sullen, sulky mood (Sc. 1808 Jam., Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) T. 95, tawm; Arg. 1936 L. McInnes S. Kintyre 13, taam); a hysterical fit, a tantrum (Crawfurd). Adj. taamy, moody.Edb. 1828 M. & M. Corbett Tales & Leg. III. 20:
We maun hae patience with the poor auld body, and no mind his tawns [sic].
Ayr. 1846 Ballads Ayr. (Paterson) I. 119:
She never annoy'd me wi' sulks or wi' tawm.
Lnk. a.1854 W. Watson Poems (1877) xii.:
I got mony a loofie for bits I forgot, Playin' truant an' takin' o' taums.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 93:
Whan folk tak' a taam against the government.
Arg. 1930:
He wuz aye that taamy an' when the taam cam' on him he wad dae naethin' for naebody.

[Mid.Eng. talme, to faint, faintness, ad. O.N. talma, to hinder, obstruct, Norw. talmast, be ailing. Cf. L.Ger. talmen, to be slow.]

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"Taum v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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