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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WALTAM, n. Also wall-tam, wull-tam, and misprinted waltan (Abd. 1965 H. Diack Village on Don 136). Gen. in pl., a pair of leather straps with buckles worn by farm-workers, tied on over the trousers just below the knee, with the aims of keeping the trouser-legs out of the mud, preventing dust from blowing up the legs and providing freedom of movement for bending, etc. (Abd. 1909; Abd., Kcd., Ags. 1921 T.S.D.C.; ne., em.Sc. (a) 1973). [′wɑl′tɑm]Abd. 1928 P. Grey Making of a King 13:
The souter cud gi'e ye a pair o' waltams.
Kcd., Ags. 1940 Scotsman (22 April) 6:
“Wulltams” or waltams are narrow leather straps, fastened with a buckle — string is a makeshift. They are worn with the trousers pulled up and pouched over them.
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 13:
Wi' wall-tams wuppit roon his moleskin breeks.
Ags. 1958 People's Jnl. (5 April):
His wull-tams tipped wi' siller studs.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 236:
With the buckles on his wall-tams shining like new silver.

[From Walt, n., a narrow strip (of leather) + Tome, n., a cord, assimilated to Tam, prop.n. Cf. Nickie-Tam, id.]

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



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