Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GUMPH, n.1, v. Also gump. Dim. gumphie, -y.

I. n. 1. A fool, a stupid person (Ags. 1808 Jam., gumphie; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 71; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Kcb.8 1930; n.Sc., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Ayr., Rxb. gumph(ie), Uls. 1955); “a term most generally applied to a female” (Fif. 1825 Jam., gump). Also in Eng. and U.S. dial. Ayr. a.1878  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 191:
Like some great gumphy o' a fule Wha sticks his carritches at schule.
Uls. 1927  St J. G. Ervine Wayward Man 11:
You great, big gumph! And you that's afeard of a bull want to marry a wife!
Bwk. 1948  A. Hepple House of Gow xv.:
The poor gump — as Wolsey called him in deep sympathy.

Hence gumphish, gumphieleerie, adj., silly, imbecile. Edb. 1842  Robinson's Comic Songster 8:
He's just your gumphish Fool, Robie Up, an' rin awa', Robie.
Per. 1900  E.D.D.:
“He's not all there, is he?” “O na; he's a wee gumphieleerie.”

2. In pl.: the sulks (Fif. 1955), in phr. to tak the gumps, to take a fit of ill-humour, to become sulky (Fif. 1825 Jam., Fif. 1955).

II. v. 1. To make a fool of (someone), to baffle, defeat, get the better of (Abd. 1825 Jam.).

2. “To go about in a stupid state” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff., Add. 225); “to be in the sulks” (Bnff. 1880 Jam.).

[Imit.: cf. Gamf and Sumph, dump, etc.]

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"Gumph n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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