Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GOAM, v. Also gome, gom(m), †gaum, †goom, ¶ghomn (Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs of the Fields 7). [go(:)m]

1. To pay attention to, heed, notice; to recognise, greet (with a salutation) (Lth. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl., gaum; Rxb. 1912 Scotsman (13 Jan.), goom; Peb., Bwk., s.Sc. 1954). Rarely used without neg. Also in n.Eng. dial. Ayr. 1790  J. Fisher Poems 86:
Nor e'er did goam These waters sweet, dear Tam, I say, O' Helicon.
Rxb. 1825  Jam.:
A ewe is said not to goam a strange lamb.
Dmf. 1863  R. Quinn Heather Lintie 225:
I a shallow loon buist be, Tae gom sic an auld hag as thee.
Slk. 1875  Border Treasury (12 June) 519:
They never gommd us i' the street or said an encouraging word to us i' the office.
Rxb. 1881  Border Counties Mag. 180:
The horses . . . stand tuggin' an' stampin', an' gomm wi' nicherin' mou the creepin' skreigh o' day.
Hdg. 1903  J. Lumsden Toorle 75:
But I'm fearin' something's wrang doun-bye, for the auld Maister an' Robin are noticed never to gome ilk ither noo.
Lnk. 1910  C. Fraser Glengonnar 75:
She cried oot, as if she gomed the auld man's face.
Slk. 1936  per Miss E. Wilson:
Of a person who was very ill: “He never gomm'd me.”
s.Sc. 1948  A. Hepple House of Gow xxiii.:
Teenie, she knew, never ‘goamed' the Cessforth people — a dirty, slovenly lot, according to Teenie and none too respectable.

2. “To gaze about wildly, applied either to man or beast” (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Common in Eng. dial.

3. To look or search intently (for). Lth. 1829  E. Logan Restalrig xxii.:
As if I had been goaming for a needle in a wisp o' hay.

[Mid.Eng. gom(e), O.N. gaumr, heed, attention. The phonology shows that the word has been borrowed from n.Eng. dial.]

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"Goam v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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