Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SHAME, n., v. Also †shaim, sham, shem -; sheem (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 33, Sh., n.Ork. 1970). Sc. forms and usages. Adj., adv. Shamefu', -fy, shameful(ly) (Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. (S.H.S.) 180; Sc. 1898 L. Walford Leddy Marget viii.). See P.L.D. § 164.2. for Ork. form.

I. n. 1. As in Eng. †(1) Combs. Shame-dance, -reel, -spring, the first dance at a wedding, the spring being the tune which was played to it (see quots.) (ne.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 102); (2) adj. shamefu, modest, bashful, shamefaced. Obs. in Eng. in 17th c. Comb. shamefu reel, = (1) above; (3) phr. to think shame, to be ashamed (Sc. 1799 H. Mitchell Scotticisms 73; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Now only dial. in Eng.; to be abashed or shamefaced. (1) Bnff. 1862  Banffshire Jnl. (18 Nov.) 6:
The shame-spring . . . reel danced by the bride and her maid previous to the dancing of the Lang-Reel.
Abd. 1872  A. Allardyce Footdee 7:
After dinner they [marriage party] adjourned to the Links to dance the shame dance.
ne.Sc. 1874  W. Gregor Olden Time 122:
The dancing was begun by the shaimit reel. The music to which it was danced was called the shaim-spring, and the bride had the privilege of choosing the music.
Sc. 1880  Jam.:
Shame-reel. In several counties of Scotland this was the name of the first dance after the cebration of a marrriage. It was performed by the bride and best man, and the bridegroom and best maid. The bride's partner asked what was to be the “shame spring”, and she commonly answered — “Through the warld will I gang wi' the lad that loes me,” which, on being communicated to the fiddlers, was struck up, and the dance went on somewhat punctiliously, while the guests looked on in silence, and greeted the close with applause. This dance was common in Forfarshire twenty years ago. The origin of the term is sufficiently obvious in the shamefacedness of the bride.
(2) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 31:
Shamefu' she was, an' skeigh like onie hare.
ne.Sc. 1828  Fair Janet in
Child Ballads No. 64 F. xxviii.:
‘Win up, win up, now bride,' he says. ‘And dance a shamefu reel.'
(3) Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 10:
To ape their Lairds may think nae shame.
Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 8:
Think shame o' yoursel! That word's no canny.
Lth. 1853  W. Wilson Ailieford I. vii.:
For Andrew, though he is a little proud of himself, his bride, and his important position, is dreadfully confused and “thinks shame,” having yet, though he is three-and-twenty and a bridegroom, not a little of his boyish awkwardness remaining with him still.
Rnf. 1861  J. Barr Poems 172:
There's no a wife aboot the place But I think shame to see.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped i.:
Can you forget old favours and old friends? Fie, fie; think shame.
Lth. 1890  M. Oliphant Kirsteen xxi.:
She thought shame for the servants of the new-comer's scant possessions.

2. Used imprecatively = the devil, gen. in neg. sentences = ‘not a blessed. . . .' Cf. Foul, Sorra, etc. Sc. 1722  W. Hamilton Wallace x. iv.:
Shame a Tail remain'd upon the Spot.
Rxb. 1808  A. Scott Poems 121:
Shame ane now will hae ye.
n.Sc. 1825  Jam.:
Shame care.
Peb. 1836  J. Affleck Poet Wks. 122:
Tam weel kend it was his luckie, Shame a fit wad ever steer.
Uls. 1953  Traynor:
Shame a hait [see Haet, 2.].

II. v. 1. To be ashamed or affronted, to shrink from shame. Obs. or dial. in Eng. Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 94:
Gin it be sae, ye needna shame to tell.
s.Sc. 1809  T. Donaldson Poems 198:
For ye about the gout to clash on I sham to hear.

2. Ppl.adj. shamit, -et, shaimit, shem-, in comb. shamit dance, -reel, see I. 1.(1) above. Now only hist. n.Sc. 1823  W. G. Stewart Superstitions (1851) 190:
The “shemit reel” is the next object of attention. All the company assemble on the lawn with flambeaux and form into a circle. The bridal pair and their retinue then dance a sixsome reel, each putting a piece of silver into the musician's hand.
Mry. 1836  J. Grant Penny Wedding 31:
This reel was named the Shamit Reel, as it was considered that it would take away the shame and bashfulness which the bride laboured under before so many people.
ne.Sc. 1874  W. Gregor Olden Time 122:
In some districts the shaimit reel was danced by the bride and her best maid, with the two sens as partners.
ne.Sc. 1935  I. Bennet Fishermen ix.:
When me and Elspit was wed we led aff the shamit reel on the sands.

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



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