Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
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.

WOMAN, n. Also sing.: ¶womun, ¶womyne (Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 75); wuman, -in, -on, wumman, -in: ne.Sc. o(o)man, owman, uman, -in, -on, umman; dim. form wumany (Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums ix.); pl.: ¶woomen (Bnff. 1702 Records Bnff. (S.C.) 234); weman (Kcb. 1730 Session Bk. Minnigaff (10 July) 537), ¶wemyng (Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 83), weemen (Sc. 1706 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 86; Gen.Sc.), -in, -un, -an; wim(m)en; wummin. Sc. forms and usages. [sing. ′wʌmən, Fif. + ′umən, ne.Sc.‡′ʌmən; pl. ′wimən]

Sing. Sc. forms of Eng. woman. wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 3:
A wummin needny get all dolled up sae fine
If it's only in her ain man's een she wants to shine.
Abd. 1990:
Man, umman, ye're surely nae wyce!
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 20:
Good shoes? Yiv only goat wan pair a shoes wummin.
Ags. 1993 Mary McIntosh in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 113:
He wis gaen wrang aa thegither, it maun be aa the bluid he had tint. His guid haund gruppit the braig i his belt. The wummin taen a stap backart.
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 2:
Ah wish the weans were up a bit, a weary wumman sighs.
Gsw. 1994 Herald (21 Jan) 12:
The coach is duly flagged down by a wee wumman. As the coach door glides open she asks the driver . "Hey, son! Is this a bus or a train?" The driver replies, "It's a train." "Thank God," says the wee wumman. "I thought I'd missed it."
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 29:
I steed the dirl, umman, lang or ye vrocht pent.
Shoodert ma birn o dool or ye kent meen fae starns.
Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 57:
But cam a day her man wis snokin
roon the rocks an saw the twa:
'Ye're feedin a wee ratton, wumman -
where's yer sense at a?'

Pl. Sc. forms of Eng. women.Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 37:
"Thoo kin tak a luk at some o' yin ould phottagraphs if thoo dinno believe id," answered Willie with a shrug. "Bit as I wur sayin', I dinno obchect tae fat weemin. Tam eveedently thinks different."
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 1:
Picture it. The Calton. Fair Fortnight. 1937. Full of Eastern promise. Wimmen windaehingin. Weans greetin for pokey hats.
wm.Sc. 1991 James Russell Grant in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 56:
Waukin in Paris the-day the weemin are bloody
It wis an ah min' it wha winnae the time ae the slump ae beauty
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 17:
At Jan Palak Square
A mindit on oor ain martyrs,
A thoosan mile awa.
Twa wummin, young an auld
Droont ower the heid o releegion
In Covenantin times.
Fif. 1998 Tom Hubbard Isolde's Luve-Daith 4:
As mony year it seemed as we follaed thon fankle
O pit-mirk pads whaur I wis feart ti hyter
Ower the skelets o men an aiblins o weemen an weans:
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 183:
It got him intae the chaumers o mairrit weemun and daicent widdaes, and they'd be bumbazed at his appearin.

Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. and attrib. usages: (1) woman bairn, a female child, a girl (Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf i.); (2) woman-big, grown to womanhood, adult; (3) woman-body, a woman. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.; (4) weemen-folk(s), †woman-, women. Gen.Sc. Now only dial. in Eng.; (5) woman-grown, = (2) (Sh., Per. 1974). Also in Eng. dial.; (6) womanheid, -head, womanhood. Obs. in Eng. since 17th c. See -Heid, suff.; †(7) woman-house, (i) the laundry of a mansion house (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.); (ii) in pl. women-houses, a kind of hostel for female immigrant workers at the bleach-fields at Neilston, Rnf.; (8) woman-length, = (2) (Sh., Ags., Lth. 1974). Also adv.; (9) wumman-looking, see quot.: (10) woman-muckle, = (2) (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Cai., Slg., Lnk. 1974); (11) woman-scared, shy of or in the presence of women; (12) woman-school, a girls' school; (13) woman's coal, see quot.; (14) woman's man, see quot.; (15) woman's wark, a full-time job, one which occupies all one's time. Cf. the proverb woman's work is never done; (16) weemin's win', see quot.(2) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 202:
She never saw her mother again till she was woman-big.
(3) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian x.:
An awkward thing for a woman-body to be standing among bundles o' barkened leather her lane.
Clc. 1831 Perthshire Adv. (14 April):
Tho' us women bodies are not allowed to speak in the kirk.
Lnk. 1858 G. Roy Generalship 122:
How men can come roun' to a woman body's notions when their ain vanity is at stake.
Kcb. 1897 J. Morrison Miss McGraw 47:
I was the only woman-body aboot the place forbye the servant lass.
Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cried on Sunday 9:
A man winna thole nae interference fae an 'oman body.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 181:
Nancy, who was sometimes afflicted even in her seventies with her girlhood shyness, had been afraid that conversation with a stranger woman-body would make heavy weather of the evening, found instead that she might have known her for years.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 79:
' ... Oh I ken ye are twa bonny eneuch lasses, but I'm no' needin' an umman body.'
(4) ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 7:
Nae langer noo on women-folks Scared Sandy's notions ran.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (31 March):
Wumman folk wid tink 'at doo wis in a blue pashen.
Kcb. 1902 Crockett Dark o' Moon xix.:
A gye het-livered younker . . . and keen on the weemen-folk.
Sc. 1925 H. McDiarmid Sangschaw 22:
Fain the weemun folk'll seek To mak' them haud their row.
Abd. 1934 M. Watt Visitors at Birkenbrae 6:
Jist gie you weemin fowk a hair an' ye'll seen mak' a tether.
Gsw. 1993 Herald (12 Jun) 8:
Why do the men do the cooking at barbecues? Myself, I would be inclined to ask why the weemenfolk do all the cooking in the house.
(5) Ayr. 1789 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 314:
I purpose keeping her in my family till she be quite woman grown.
Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Kincaid's Widow ii.:
He was taking no steps to reclaim me when I was woman-grown.
(6) Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 58:
The girls grew up to womanheid, The lads shot up to men.
Sc. 1894 J. Davidson Ballads 3:
The wrongs of womanhead At last are fairly dead.
(7) (i) m.Lth. 1711 J. Paterson Hist. Wauchopes (1858) 79:
A bigg chimney in the woman house and raxes.
Sc. 1751 Caled. Mercury (11 June):
Eight Bed-rooms, with a large Dining-room, low Parlour, Nursery, Kitchen and Womanhouse.
Ork. 1766 P. Fea MS. Diary (29 Oct.):
Got wood sawn for Couples to the Woman House.
(ii) Rnf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 149:
At these [bleach-]fields . . . there are a number of women not having families, nor residing in families, but in women-houses, so called, erected on purpose . . . where they lodge only during the working season.
wm.Sc. 1843 Children in Trades Report (2) I. 29:
The crowded women-houses in which they live in bleachfields.
(8) Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 154:
Has your mother brocht ye up woman length, an' you sae han'less?
(9) Dmf. 1955:
She's wumman-lookin — said of a girl who is beginning to look grown-up.
(10) Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 158:
Gart her grow woman-muckle in twathree days.
s.Sc. 1899 Border Mag. (Nov.) 211:
Tho' men an' women muckle, wi' douce hames o' their ain.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 87:
Janet was woman-muckle, as they say locally, when I was a schoolboy on holiday at Carfrae House.
(11) Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 42:
He stood back sae woman-scared wi' bashfu' e'e.
(12) e.Lth. 1699 P. H. Waddell Old Kirk Chron. (1893) 81:
A ‘woman schoole' was established at Knows ‘for lassies and groundling young ones' over which a discreet woman was appointed.
(13) Lnk. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VI. 258:
At Quarter, the first bed worth working is the 10 feet or woman's coal, so called because it was once wrought by females.
(14) Ags. 1835 J. Myles Dundee Factory Boy (1887) 61:
I . . . found employment as a “woman's man,” as the shoemakers call it, that is, an operative who confines himself to the making of women's shoes.
(16) Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie ii. xxii.:
They had encountered the “weemin's win?” . . . However vicious is the storm . . . on the Loch, the women know nothing but an inner silent Harbour, and are amazed to hear the boats coming in.

Phr.: Mrs Wumman, Informal term of address to an unknown woman (Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s).Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 78:
wummin Local pronunciation of woman. It is quite commonplace to address an unknown lady as Mrs Wumman: 'Aw hey Mrs Wumman! Ye've drapt yer brolly.'
Sc. 2000 Sun (16 Dec):
Their bookie's syndicate won £400,000 yet Mrs Wumman told them, "I forgot to put the ticket on, sorry I'll need to go now my Roll's Royce is waiting."
Sc. 2002 Sun (21 Nov):
Jack should tell them: "No more foxy rubbish, no more trying to corner the envelope market, and you, Mrs Wumman, chuck it with the daft chests-out-in pubs bill because mothers shouldn't be in pubs with weans in the first place."

2. As a familiar form of address, but not, as in St. Eng., restricted to derogatory or jocular usage, occas. applied to a little girl, as in 1894 quot. Comb. woman dear, id. (Gall. 1905 E.D.D.), from Ir. dial.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 37:
'Oman says Bess I think we'll tak advice.
Dmf. 1824 W. McVitie Tales for the Ingle-cheek II. 11:
He thus addressed his gudwife: “Wha think ye, Mary, my woman, I saw in Glasgow to-day?”
Uls. 1879 “Robin” Hum. Readings 35:
Oh, Maggie, womun, but that's guid.
Slk. 1894 J. Bathgate Aunt Janet's Legacy 69:
Lassie, did ye never see a sandglass? wummin, ye're as ignarint as a peat.
Rxb. 1896 J. C. Dibdin Cleekim Inn 191:
What dae ye want in here, ma wumman?
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood ii.:
Mirren, my wumman, the Lord's a grand provider.
Abd. 1967 Fraserburgh Herald (13 Jan.):
It's a gey thing that's happened the nicht, 'umman.

3. (1) A wife. Now only dial. in Eng.Sc. 1765 Buccleuch MSS. (Hist. MSS. Comm.) I. 416:
My poor little woman has been in the drooping mood for two or three days.
Sc. 1866 Carlyle Reminisc. (1881) II. 193:
I persisted in them to the last, as did my woman.
Mry. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 69:
Tak' Adam's umman, fig-leaf fyawked.

(2) A female domestic servant. Cf. 1. (7).Fif. 1894 L. Keith Lisbeth iii.:
I wonder ye dare put such an affront on me before the women!
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 43:
Aw've kent a gey tricky nickum o' a fairmer poor doon a pailfu' o' watter fae a hich window on a lad gyaun to see 's 'oman.

(3) A scarecrow.Abd. 1947:
I saw him pittin up weemen the streen in's neep park.

[O.Sc. woman-barne, 1581, -houss, 1566.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: