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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.

WAME, n., v. Also waim, weam, †weme, †weem (Sc. 1771 T. Pennant Tour 1769 161); wambe (Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 98), wemb(e); ¶whame (Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 59); wyme, weym, weim(e), wime; and in dims. wamie, wymie. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. womb. [we:m; ne., em.Sc.(a) wəim]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., the womb, uterus (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Uls. 1929; Cai. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. a red weam, parturition. See Redd, v.1, 4. (4) (i).Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 35:
Man naked comes frae Minnie's wyme.
n.Sc. 1802 Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet in Child Ballads No. 66 B. ii.:
Lord Ingram and Gil Viett Were baith laid in ae wame.
Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xlvi. 3:
Frae the wame, I hae liften an' carried yo.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 65:
" ... and also Maldonuich, who broke his leg at the ploughing, and the blood in him poisoned and he died of it; and then Neilli, who had been with me that very day at the butter churn, and Neilli's wame was all red and dripping, for she died of the bairn in her; they all went past me into the kirk. ... "
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 215:
Her hands folded across her breists? Her knees drawn up, like a bairnie in a wame? Her sumptuous hurdies and her cream-white thighs?

2. In various senses of Eng. belly (Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. Wambe; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Ork. 1929 Marw. s.v. Wab o' the wame). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.; in some contexts not very distinguishable from sense 1. Phrs.: a sair wame, stomach-ache (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1973). See Sair, adj., 1. 4. (13); athort one's wame, in spite of or in defiance of one (Abd. 1825 Jam.); the wind of one's wame, speech, talk, discussion; the worst word in one's wame, the most virulent abuse, the worst words one can find.Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 82:
The Rim O' er Wame he clap't his Dock on.
Edb. 1727 A. Pennecuik Coll. Sc. Poems (1750) 69:
Contrived them for to hide her Wame, When it grew big.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Ajax 5:
'Tis better then, the cause we try Wi' the wind o' our wame.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 68, 80:
Glakit fools, o'er rife o' cash, Pamper their weyms wi' fousom trash . . . Hap ye weel, baith back and wame, In gude Braid claith.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Reply to Trimming Ep. ii.:
I gie their wames a random pouse.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
It surely coudna be a duty, when my hands war tied ahint my back, to kick me i' the wame.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
The worst word in his wame — thief, beggar, and dyvour, were the saftest terms.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 79:
Sair wauchled the hizzies were or they gat hame, . . . And twa 'r-three moons after did swaul i' the wame.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxxvi.:
Pussy bawdrons when she has half a pund o' fresh butter in her wame.
Ags. 1906 Rymour Club Misc. I. 53:
— To a Child at the Breast — Wamie to wamie, Handie to back, Breestie to mouie, Clap, airsie, clap.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13:
Wui ma wame fowe, ma thochts redd thersels the better oot.
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 20:
I didna thmnk te see you here! An foo's the bairnie's wime? A bittie better? Gweed be praised!
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 135:
When she could not get whisky she drank methylated spirit, which makes a dead furnace in the wame, but every autumn, drawn by a homing instinct, she came out from Shuttle Lane for a short contact with the sane and fruitful fields.
Abd. 1981 Christina Forbes Middleton The Dance in the Village 77:
It startit 'boot a month ago
Though I've lost the track o' time
On a certain nicht I couldna sleep
For stoonin' in ma wime.
m.Sc. 1986 Tony McManus in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 169:
That satisfies his hert - loe has its hoor it seems.
This bubbleyjock has aye approuved her gentill weird,
Whan daith comes creepin on its reid wame, you sud see
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 57:
'Lord help ye, daughter,' said Rushin Coatie, grinning, 'have ye boked up your breakfast? Hut, tut, I'm 'feard you'll need a strong wame to bide here.'
ne.Sc. 1993 James McBey The Early Life of James McBey 4:
I read out, 'Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms.' She regarded the engraving with deep renewed interest, then said, 'Puir man. Nae wunner he's hauden his wymie.' (No wonder he is holding his stomach.)
Gsw. 1994 Alasdair Gray A History Maker 126:
"Lassies," he said plaintively, "I'm hungry. My wame thinks my throat's cut."
They brought him powsoudie, drummock, kebbuck and farle. He ate it and dressed.
Ags. 1995 Courier 18 Mar :
"I remember the recipe [for a tattie-bogle] was also a good lesson in old Scots words." ... "The cross-sticks supporting his shuiders have to be fixed at the oxters, and then his slaives have to be tied to his shakkles with bits of sparty.
"After that, his weim has to be weel happit aboot with a muffler round his keit. ... "

Also in proverbial phrs.:Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 27:
A foul Foot makes a full Weime.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
What's in your wame [or wyme]'s no in your testament.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 16:
It's weel won that's won aff the wame . . . Lay your wame to your winning.
Sc. 1870 A. Hislop Proverbs 157:
His wame thinks his wizen's cut — Expressive of the most extreme hunger.
Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Proverbs 7:
'E calf is eaten in 'e coo's weym — wages spent before they are earned.
ne., em.Sc. (a) 1972:
Your ee's bigger nor your wame — you have helped yourself to more than you can eat.

3. Used transf. as the seat of the passions or of the thoughts: the heart, mind, head. Cf. the similar semantic development of Gr. φρενες.Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy vi.:
“Why, Andrew, you know all the secrets of this family.” “If I ken them I can keep them,” said Andrew; “they winna work in my wame like barm in a barrel.”
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace 31:
There's Watty wi' the budget in his wime.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 133:
I whummled Tam's case through my wame ae nicht with a hue of toddy.
Ags. 1927 L. Spence Weirds & Vanities 1:
Wi' Vergil in my loof Troy warked sae greatly in my wame.

4. Specif., of tripe or viscera used as food; a paunch; also of salmon-roe removed whole.Sc. 1700 Sc. Register (1794) 278:
For dressing 19 wemb of tripes at 1s. per wemb.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 116:
Whare Wames o' Paunches sav'ry scent To Nostrils gi'e great Discontent.
s.Sc. 1847 T. T. Stoddart Angler's Comp. 161:
Salmon-roe as a bait for angling with . . . is either cured entire, that is, as it is taken from the fish in the form of what is provincially termed the waim; or . . . reduced to a paste.

5. In transf. senses: (1) a hollow, a cavity.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary vii.:
In a wreath o' snaw, or in the wame o' a wave.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms lv. 23:
Yersel sal thring them down, O God, till the wame o' the sheugh!

(2) a sufficiency of space, room.Lnk. 1856 Deil's Hallowe'en 22:
Auld Pandemonium's meikle ha' Had hardly wame to haud them a'.

(3) the bottom row of peats in a bank (Cai. 1973).

6. Combs. and derivs.: (1) big-wimed, see Big, adj., 2. Combs. (14); (2) black -wambed, see s.v.; (3) red wame, the char, Salvelinus alpinus (Inv. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VIII. 504). See Reid, adj., 1. (76); (4) wamefu, -fow, a bellyful (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1925; Uls. 1929; Ags. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (5) wame-girt, -gird, a belly-band, a saddle-girth (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1973). See Gird, n.1, Girth, n.1; ¶(6) wame-hauden, contained in the stomach; ¶(7) wame-smith, an obstetrician; ¶(8) wame-ware, “belly-timber”, food; (9) wamie, -(e)y, big-bellied, corpulent (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Fif. 1899 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 40; Ags., Fif. 1973); (10) waminess, corpulence (Lnk. 1825 Jam.).(3) Sc. 1723 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 134:
It produces of fishes rid weams, trouts and some salmond.
(4) Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 25:
To drink his Wamefu' of the Sea.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 82:
That cruds, their weamfu', they sud get on haste.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Dedic. G. Hamilton 12:
This may do — maun do, sir, wi' them wha Maun please the great-folk for a wamefou.
Rxb. 1805 A. Scott Poems 163:
Let ne'er a wamefu' be a missing But gie us routh o' food.
Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's Well x.:
A wame-fu' is a wame-fu' whether it be of the barleymeal or the bran.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xviii.:
He had gotten his wamefu' o' guid whey-whullions.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 372:
The deer tak' a wimefu' o' neeps.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxxvii.:
A wamefu' o' green heather-taps.
(5) Sh. 1897 Shetland News (6 Nov.):
Wark only for horses, as lang as I hed ane ta pit a wymegird an' flakkie apon.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 26:
Ye cood juist heuk da bight o' da maeshie fettel ower yon croilk apon his [a camel's] back, an' ye wid need nedder gointack or wamegirt.
(6) Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 53:
No withoot jum'lin' their wame-hauden drummack.
(7) Kcb. 1815 J. Gerrond Works 102:
Lang or the wame-smith reached our inn Jack cleared his way.
(8) Dmf. 1808 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 608:
To thee, great keuk o' kintra' fare, We owe this wale o' a' wame-ware.
(9) Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 224:
Thou grew as fat's a wamy bailie.
Lnk. 1883 A. R. Fisher Poems 93:
And sow-killer Jamie Though barely as wamie Still waddles his way through the thrang.
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin v.:
Better to be a liesh, light-footed lassie running about the moors than a great wamie, fruesome wife.

II. v. To fill oneself with food (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Now arch.s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin xvi.:
Thae twa napper-o'-naps is waming themselves with a gigot of Branxholm mutton.
Gall. 1900 R. J. Muir Mystery Muncraig iv.:
It's the duty o' a lawborous man to eat and wame himsel'.

[O.Sc. wame, belly fur, 1374, wayme, belly, womb, 1420 wame fow, 1513. O.E. wamb, belly.]

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"Wame n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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