Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DAM, n.3

1. A piece in the game of draughts (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang.). Sc. 1858  E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. (1862) i. v.:
Dams were the pieces with which the game of draughts was played.

2. In pl.: the game of draughts (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 159; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1939; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 160; w.Rxb., e.Slk. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry, Gl.). Gen. used with def. art. Sc. 1814  C. I. Johnstone Saxon and Gael I. 94:
After playing twa or three games at the dams, an' taking a chapin o' ale wi' a guid auld neebor.
Bnff. 1844  T. Anderson Poems 67:
There's some for books but little care, But waste their time at cartes or dams, Yet scarce cou'd read the ten comman's.

3. Combs.: (1) dambrod, see separate article; (2) damheed, the top or bottom of the dambrod (Bnff.4 1926; Abd.2, Abd.9 1939).

[O.Sc. has dams, the game of draughts (with def. art.), 1685 (D.O.S.T.); O.Fr. dame, “a man at Tables, or Draughts”; dames, “the play on the outside of a paire of Tables, called Draughts” (Cotgrave). From Fr. the word has been borrowed by most of the Teut. langs.: cf. Ger. dambrett, Norw. dam, etc.; “the playe of dammes” occurs in Eng. 1580 (N.E.D.).]

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"Dam n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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