Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEESOME, adj.1 Also leesim, leisome, liesome; lissome; leasome; leifsum and irreg. leishin. Cf. Leesome, adj.2 [′lisəm]

1. Pleasant, lovable, agreeable, in gen. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 153; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork. 1960). Also adv. Adv. leisomely (Dmf. 1894 R. Reid Poems 159). Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 38:
A bonny leesome child.
Peb. 1802  J. Nicol Poems I. 27:
Ye wives! whase leesome hearts are fain To get the poor man's blessin, Your trampit girnels dinna hain.
Sc. a.1806  Thomas Rymer in
Child Ballads No. 37. C. xviii.:
Ilka seven years, Thomas, We pay our teindings unto hell, And ye're sae leesome and sae strang That I fear, Thomas, it will be yeresell.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 17:
That temple's flures and wa's are lined — Wi' leifsum pictures a' kin kind.
Gall. c.1840  Bards Gall. (Harper 1889) 195:
And spring has come again, luve, To deck yon leesome dell.
m.Lth. 1864  A. Logan Musings 64:
Yet the leesome smile thou wearest, Marks thee perfection's queen, Katy.
Cai. 1869  M. Maclennan Peasant Life 146:
I'd rayther hae a winsome leishin' cummer lik' ye than the brawest leddy i' the lan'.
Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Verses 32:
Oh! hinnied dreams o' youth's bricht days, Hoo licht, hoo lissome hae they been.
Dmf. 1894  R. Reid Poems 77:
The gait o' his gangin' was leesome fair.
Sc.(E) 1913  H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. v. 89:
Braid me i' my luve, that I may learn till pree wi' the innart mou' o' the hert hoo leesome it is tae loe.
Ork. 1931  Orcadian (7 May):
[He] made a whasacco o' whissin i' deir lugs, an' dan boy whit tinks du, dey gaed is leesome is twa ald yowes.

2. Of weather: fine, balmy, mild and bright (ne.Sc. 1960). Also adv. Abd. 1787  A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess iii. i.:
Ay, Ned, says she, this is a liesome night!
Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 66:
A bonny leesome night, as e'er I saw: The moon's as white's a new-blawn wreath o' snaw.
Abd. 1828  P. Buchan Ballads I. 223:
Fair and leesome blew the wind.
Abd. 1861  J. Davidson Poems 116:
In Spring's bright leesim days, ye've heard Enraptured nature sing.

3. Used as an intensive, with lane: absolutely, completely, quite (alone) (Cai., Abd., Kcd., Ags., Per., Fif., Edb., Ayr. 1960); hence occas. used absol. = solitary, lonely. See Lief, 4., for further information on this usage. Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
There sat the Laird his leesome lane.
Edb. 1843  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie 2:
Daunderin aboot amang the hills your leesome lane, without a leeving being to commune wi'.
Sc. 1876  S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 226:
At last everything was quiet, and my Auntie sat her leesome lane in the yard.
Bnff. 1895  N. Roy Horseman's Word viii.:
Leasome and lanesome is waesome and wearisome; as weel an egg without saut as a life wantin' freens.
Gall. 1896  Crockett Grey Man xx.:
Do not call on Sandy by your leasome lane.
Bwk. 1897  R. M. Calder Poems 214:
For when you've tint your wealth, you'll hae Your leesome road to gang.
Edb. 1928  A. D. Mackie Poems 36:
Deid 'oor o' nicht, My leesome lane.

[Not in O.Sc. The word appears to be a new creation from Lief, q.v. + Some, with formal influence from Leesome, adj.2, to which the examples given in N.E.D. s.v. Leesome, a.1, should probably be referred.]

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"Leesome adj.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2018 <>



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