Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DAMBROD, -BOARD, -BO(O)RD, n. comb. and v. [′dɑm(b)rɔd, -burd, bɔrd]

1. n.

(1) A draught-board (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 158; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., damboard, dambrod, obsol.). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Sc. 1858  E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. (1860) 108:
A draft-board used to be called (as I remember) by old Scotch people a “dambrod.”
Ags. 1889  J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums i.:
I have only to open the drawer with the loose handle to bring out the dambrod.
Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 20:
Haith! wha wi' him [the Devil] wi' dambrod play Had better lang defer the day.

(2) With def. art.: the game of draughts; sometimes now in pl. (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.). Known to Abd. correspondents 1939. Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 124:
The tailor o' Yarrow Ford dang ye a' to bits, baith at gammon and the dambrod.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 374:
Gin ony o' ye hae a notion o' the dambrod, ye wad get a tussle afore ye cam' aff wi' the victory.
Abd. 1934  D. Scott Stories and Sk. 38:
A could get some o' the ither chaps t' rise an' ha'e a game o' dambrods wi' me.
Dmf. 1875  P. Ponder Kirkcumdoon 16:
Fonder o' the public hoose, an' playin' at the dam-boord . . . than I was o' my wark.

(3) Used attrib. = chequered; having a pattern similar to that on a draught-board (Bnff.2, Abd. correspondents, Fif.10, Slg.3 1939; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.). Sc. 1779  MS. Inventory Goods D. Steuart, Earl of Bch. (N.E.D.).:
8 damboard T[able] Cloths.
Inv. 1812–13  in E. Grant Memoirs Highland Lady (ed. Lady Strachey 1928) 194:
There was the “dam-brod” pattern supposed to be the Highland translation of dame-board or backgammon.
Kcb. 1894  S. R. Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet ix.:
He wore a broad blue Kilmarnock bonnet, checked red and white in a “dambrod” pattern round the edge.

(4) Comb.: dambrod-checkeet = (3). Known to Abd.9 1939. Rxb.(D) 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 14–15:
Jethart Casle! A body wad need ti ken'd off leike as Wattie Laidlaw kennd eet, for ti tell owre, off-luif, aa its dambrod-checkeet story.

2. v. Used in pa.p. damborded = 1 (3), above. Sc. 1820  Blackwood's Mag. (Nov.) 154:
See that upland loon wi' the damborded back is drapping them down his Highland weason, as gin they were lordly daintiths.

[Dam, n.3, + Brod, n.1]

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"Dambrod n. comb., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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