Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LAMMER, n. Also lamer, -ar, -our; laum(m)er; laamer (Sh.). [′lɑmər]

1. Amber (Sh. 1960). Now mostly liter. Also attrib. Ppl.adj. laamered, having the appearance of amber, applied to the thick yellowish milk that appears in an animal before parturition (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Sc. 1725  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 102:
Her locks that shine like lammer.
Sc. c.1783  Lamkin in
Child Ballads No. 93 A. xxiv.:
It is your lady's heart's blood; 'tis as clear as the lamer.
ne.Sc. 1881  W. Gregor Folk-Lore 40:
An amber bead, vernacularly called “laamer,” was commonly used to remove a chaff from the eye, both of man and beast.
Abd. 1924  L. Coutts Caul' Nor'-East 25:
I've brocht ye beads o' laumer!
Lth. 1928  S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 72:
Her eyes were as the quiet depths O' lammer pools in Lyon.
Sc. 1931  Sc. Educ. Jnl. (18 Dec.):
In Summer-time in laum'er broun, An' nocht kenspeckle frae the rest O' ither birds the countrie roun.

2. Combs.: (1) lammer-bead, an amber bead, freq. used as a charm or amulet (Sh., Abd. 1960); (2) lammer-wine, see quot. (1) Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 159:
Dought they compare wi' bonny Tweed, As clear as ony lammer-bead?
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
Dinna ye think poor Jeanie's een wi' the tears in them glanced like lamour beads?
Dmf. 1826  R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 277:
Black luggie, lammer bead, Rowan-tree, and red thread, Put the witches to their speed!
Rnf. a.1850  Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) L. 23:
Lammer beids: an amulet for sair ein, still believed in by some. Formerly put around the neck of infants, from their birth till they were kirsent to prevent the witches casting cantrips, or the blight of the ill-ee, from hurting the wee heathen.
Bnff. c.1880  Gregor MSS.:
The Styan. This pustule was cured by rubbing it with a “laamer” i.e. amber bead.
Sh. 1892  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 250:
A string o' laamer beads fir pittin roond aboot her neck.
Slg. 1900  Trans. Slg. Arch. Soc. 49:
Happy was the maiden that wore a string of laamer beads around her neck, for demons, witches, and such like ill-folk could not harm her.
Sc. 1937  Oor Mither Tongue (MacWhannel) 90:
Rings, keys, brass buttons, laumer beads.
(2) Sc. 1820  Scots Mag. (May) 452:
This imaginary liquor was esteemed a sort of elixir of immortality, and its virtues are celebrated in the following infallible recipe: — Drink ae coup o' the lammer-wine, An' the tear is nae mair in your e'e . . . An' drink nine coups o' the lammer wine, Your endday ye'll ne'er see.

[O.Sc. lammer, 1517, E.Mid.Eng., O.Fr. lambre (jaune), (yellow) amber, orig. ambergris, Fr. ambre gris, grey amber, Med.Lat. lambra, Arab. al ambar.]

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"Lammer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Apr 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/lammer_n>

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