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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

YAM, n. Also yaam (I.Sc.). Sc. usages of Eng. yam, the tropical edible tuber.

1. A coarse variety of the common potato, also known as horse-potato (See Horse).e.Lth. 1794 G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E. Lth. 82:
There is another species of potatoe. . . . We vulgarly call it the yam, but it is really the surinam, or hog potatoe.
Sc. 1803 Trans. Highl. Soc. II. 68:
The large coarse varieties of potatoe, improperly called Yams.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 30:
The varieties raised exclusively for cattle are the common yam, red yam, and ox-noble.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sketches 304:
Take share o' a potfu' o' yams.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (29 Oct.):
What cam o' da twartree yaams 'at I set oot inunder da trap?

2. A contemptuous term for a silly, lumpish fellow, a blockhead. Cf. Tattie, 3.Ags. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
He's a regular yam.

3. Transf. The large mussel, Modiolus vulgaris, usually dredged up for bait (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Cf. horse-mussel s.v. Horse, n, 2. (37).

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



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