Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
TRAM, n. Also traum. Dim. ¶trammel. [trɑm]
†1. A long beam, bar or shaft of wood, in gen. (Sc. 1808 Jam.).
Abd. 1811 Garland Bon-Accord (1886) 38:
As waulkmill trams alternate thud On blankets sent to scour. Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 141:
His ten-fit tram of aiken spear.
2. One of the two shafts of a cart, carriage or barrow, the backward projection of which forms a handle in a wheelbarrow and a butt in a tilt-cart (wm.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 94; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 469; Lth. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 726; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc., in Uls. applied specif. to the back-shafts (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Also fig.
Peb. 1722 C. B. Gunn Linton Church (1912) 108:
The trams of the hearse are all wrong. Slg. 1746 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. (1894–5) 67:
The trams of the litter were safe. Rs. 1759 Pitcalnie MSS.:
Nine Dozen pairs Cart Trams. Ayr. 1786 Burns Inventory 30:
Ae auld wheelbarrow — mair for token, Ae leg an' baith the trams are broken. wm.Sc. 1807 J. Headrick View Arran 317:
Cars, or sledges. These consist of two beams, or trams, joined together by crossbars or rungs. Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 155:
The cart was stannan cowpit up on its hin' trams. Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 173:
The barrow trammels slid from their exhausted fingers. Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller ii.:
Squeaking trams, an' creaking wheels. Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 40:
While yoket tae the trams o' life. m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan John Burnet iii. xvii.:
Him wi' the lang bare shanks, like the trams o' a cairt. Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 22:
To drap for aye the trams o' wardly care. wm.Sc. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days xix.:
Sitting on his barrow trams, smoking a thoughtful pipe. Inv. 1914 Trans. Inv. Scientific Soc. VIII. 166:
Killed at the battle of Culloden, after killing seven men with the tram of a peat cart. Uls. 1942 E. E. Evans Irish Heritage 111:
Two long “runners” which form in turn the front shafts, the side supports of the body and the back shafts or “trams.”
Combs., phr. and deriv.: (1) to get one's legs ower the trams, to go beyond the bounds. Cf. Theat, n., 3. and Eng. traces; (2) tram girth, a girth attached to the shafts of a cart and stretched loosely under a horse's belly in order to prevent a load from tipping backwards (Ork. 1972); (3) tram horse, a horse harnessed between the shafts of a cart, as opposed to a trace-horse (Ork. 1972); (4) tramless, without shafts.
(1) m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 17:
He feucht wi' Prophets, jouked wi' Psalms, He got his legs clean ower the trams. (2) Abd. 1847 Gill Binklets 87:
He told the boy to put a tram girth upon Dobin. Rnf. 1862 A. M'Gilvray Poems 76:
Lads, when ye weigh it by the way, Tram girths keep on. (3) Sc. 1776 Kames Gentleman Farmer 41:
The tram-horse which is burdened with part of the weight of the cart. Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 367:
A cross-bar of wood, used to separate what is called the tram-horse from the chain-horse. (4) Per. 1851 A. Maclagan Poems 174:
A tramless cart or a couterless plough.
3. In pl., jocularly: the legs of a pair of spectacles (Fif. 1970).
4. Transf.: a leg, with jocular or contemptuous force, a long unshapely leg (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 469; I., n., em.Sc. (a), Lth., sm.Sc. 1972); a wooden leg.
Sc. 1800 Merry Muses (1959) 146:
Atweesh her trams a birkie lay. Slk. 1824 Hogg Justified Sinner (1874) 522:
What for are ye roaring that gate? Deil be in your reistit trams. Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 188:
The smith, owre a chappin, aft rested his trams. Arg. 1901 N. Munro Shoes of Fortune xxviii.:
Your long trams of legs and red shoes. Abd. 1958 People's Jnl. (2 Aug.):
Cudna win tae sleep for caul trams.
5. A very tall, thin, ungainly person, esp. in regard to having long legs (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 197; ne.Sc. 1972).[O.Sc. tram, the shaft of a barrow, c.1500, L.Ger. traam, beam of a barrow or sledge, Mid. Du. tram(e), beam, rung.]
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Tram n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 May 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/tram>
Try an Advanced Search