Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WAME, n., v. Also waim, weam, †weme, †weem (Sc. 1771 T. Pennant Tour 1769 161); wambe (Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 98), wemb(e); ¶whame (Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 59); wyme, weym, weim(e), wime; and in dims. wamie, wymie. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. womb. [we:m; ne., em.Sc.(a) wəim]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., the womb, uterus (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Uls. 1929; Cai. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. a red weam, parturition. See Redd, v.1, 4. (4) (i). Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 35:
Man naked comes frae Minnie's wyme.
n.Sc. 1802  Lord Ingram and Chiel Wyet in
Child Ballads No. 66 B. ii.:
Lord Ingram and Gil Viett Were baith laid in ae wame.
Sc. 1879  P. H. Waddell Isaiah xlvi. 3:
Frae the wame, I hae liften an' carried yo.

2. In various senses of Eng. belly (Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. Wambe; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Ork. 1929 Marw. s.v. Wab o' the wame). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.; in some contexts not very distinguishable from sense 1. Phrs.: a sair wame, stomach-ache (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1973). See Sair, adj., 1. 4. (13); athort one's wame, in spite of or in defiance of one (Abd. 1825 Jam.); the wind of one's wame, speech, talk, discussion; the worst word in one's wame, the most virulent abuse, the worst words one can find. Sc. 1718  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 82:
The Rim O' er Wame he clap't his Dock on.
Edb. 1727  A. Pennecuik Coll. Sc. Poems (1750) 69:
Contrived them for to hide her Wame, When it grew big.
Abd. 1754  R. Forbes Ajax 5:
'Tis better then, the cause we try Wi' the wind o' our wame.
Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 68, 80:
Glakit fools, o'er rife o' cash, Pamper their weyms wi' fousom trash . . . Hap ye weel, baith back and wame, In gude Braid claith.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Reply to Trimming Ep. ii.:
I gie their wames a random pouse.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
It surely coudna be a duty, when my hands war tied ahint my back, to kick me i' the wame.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
The worst word in his wame — thief, beggar, and dyvour, were the saftest terms.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 79:
Sair wauchled the hizzies were or they gat hame, . . . And twa 'r-three moons after did swaul i' the wame.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxxvi.:
Pussy bawdrons when she has half a pund o' fresh butter in her wame.
Ags. 1906  Rymour Club Misc. I. 53:
— To a Child at the Breast — Wamie to wamie, Handie to back, Breestie to mouie, Clap, airsie, clap.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13:
Wui ma wame fowe, ma thochts redd thersels the better oot.
Abd. 1946  J. C. Milne Orra Loon 20:
I didna thmnk te see you here! An foo's the bairnie's wime? A bittie better? Gweed be praised!

Also in proverbial phrs.: Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 27:
A foul Foot makes a full Weime.
Sc. 1825  Jam.:
What's in your wame [or wyme]'s no in your testament.
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 16:
It's weel won that's won aff the wame . . . Lay your wame to your winning.
Sc. 1870  A. Hislop Proverbs 157:
His wame thinks his wizen's cut — Expressive of the most extreme hunger.
Cai. 1916  J. Mowat Proverbs 7:
'E calf is eaten in 'e coo's weym — wages spent before they are earned.
ne., em.Sc. 1972  (a) :
Your ee's bigger nor your wame — you have helped yourself to more than you can eat.

3. Used transf. as the seat of the passions or of the thoughts: the heart, mind, head. Cf. the similar semantic development of Gr. φρενες. Sc. 1817  Scott Rob Roy vi.:
“Why, Andrew, you know all the secrets of this family.” “If I ken them I can keep them,” said Andrew; “they winna work in my wame like barm in a barrel.”
Knr. 1886  H. Haliburton Horace 31:
There's Watty wi' the budget in his wime.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 133:
I whummled Tam's case through my wame ae nicht with a hue of toddy.
Ags. 1927  L. Spence Weirds & Vanities 1:
Wi' Vergil in my loof Troy warked sae greatly in my wame.

4. Specif., of tripe or viscera used as food; a paunch; also of salmon-roe removed whole. Sc. 1700  Sc. Register (1794) 278:
For dressing 19 wemb of tripes at 1s. per wemb.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 116:
Whare Wames o' Paunches sav'ry scent To Nostrils gi'e great Discontent.
s.Sc. 1847  T. T. Stoddart Angler's Comp. 161:
Salmon-roe as a bait for angling with . . . is either cured entire, that is, as it is taken from the fish in the form of what is provincially termed the waim; or . . . reduced to a paste.

5. In transf. senses: (1) a hollow, a cavity. Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary vii.:
In a wreath o' snaw, or in the wame o' a wave.
Sc. 1871  P. H. Waddell Psalms lv. 23:
Yersel sal thring them down, O God, till the wame o' the sheugh!

(2) a sufficiency of space, room. Lnk. 1856  Deil's Hallowe'en 22:
Auld Pandemonium's meikle ha' Had hardly wame to haud them a'.

(3) the bottom row of peats in a bank (Cai. 1973).

6. Combs. and derivs.: (1) big-wimed, see Big, adj., 2. Combs. (10); (2) black -wambed, see s.v.; (3) red wame, the char, Salvelinus alpinus (Inv. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VIII. 504). See Reid, adj., 1. (76); (4) wamefu, -fow, a bellyful (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1925; Uls. 1929; Ags. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (5) wame-girt, -gird, a belly-band, a saddle-girth (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1973). See Gird, n.1, Girth, n.1; ¶(6) wame-hauden, contained in the stomach; ¶(7) wame-smith, an obstetrician; ¶(8) wame-ware, “belly-timber”, food; (9) wamie, -(e)y, big-bellied, corpulent (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Fif. 1899 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 40; Ags., Fif. 1973); (10) waminess, corpulence (Lnk. 1825 Jam.). (3) Sc. 1723  W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 134:
It produces of fishes rid weams, trouts and some salmond.
(4) Sc. 1722  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 25:
To drink his Wamefu' of the Sea.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 82:
That cruds, their weamfu', they sud get on haste.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Dedic. G. Hamilton 12:
This may do — maun do, sir, wi' them wha Maun please the great-folk for a wamefou.
Rxb. 1805  A. Scott Poems 163:
Let ne'er a wamefu' be a missing But gie us routh o' food.
Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's Well x.:
A wame-fu' is a wame-fu' whether it be of the barleymeal or the bran.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xviii.:
He had gotten his wamefu' o' guid whey-whullions.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 372:
The deer tak' a wimefu' o' neeps.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxxvii.:
A wamefu' o' green heather-taps.
(5) Sh. 1897  Shetland News (6 Nov.):
Wark only for horses, as lang as I hed ane ta pit a wymegird an' flakkie apon.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 26:
Ye cood juist heuk da bight o' da maeshie fettel ower yon croilk apon his [a camel's] back, an' ye wid need nedder gointack or wamegirt.
(6) Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 53:
No withoot jum'lin' their wame-hauden drummack.
(7) Kcb. 1815  J. Gerrond Works 102:
Lang or the wame-smith reached our inn Jack cleared his way.
(8) Dmf. 1808  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 608:
To thee, great keuk o' kintra' fare, We owe this wale o' a' wame-ware.
(9) Clc. 1882  J. Walker Poems 224:
Thou grew as fat's a wamy bailie.
Lnk. 1883  A. R. Fisher Poems 93:
And sow-killer Jamie Though barely as wamie Still waddles his way through the thrang.
s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin v.:
Better to be a liesh, light-footed lassie running about the moors than a great wamie, fruesome wife.

II. v. To fill oneself with food (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Now arch. s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xvi.:
Thae twa napper-o'-naps is waming themselves with a gigot of Branxholm mutton.
Gall. 1900  R. J. Muir Mystery Muncraig iv.:
It's the duty o' a lawborous man to eat and wame himsel'.

[O.Sc. wame, belly fur, 1374, wayme, belly, womb, 1420 wame fow, 1513. O.E. wamb, belly.]

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"Wame n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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