Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YAM, n. Also yaam (I.Sc.). Sc. usages of Eng. yam, the tropical edible tuber.

1. A coarse variety of the common potato, also known as horse-potato (See Horse). e.Lth. 1794  G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E. Lth. 82:
There is another species of potatoe. . . . We vulgarly call it the yam, but it is really the surinam, or hog potatoe.
Sc. 1803  Trans. Highl. Soc. II. 68:
The large coarse varieties of potatoe, improperly called Yams.
Sc. 1844  H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 30:
The varieties raised exclusively for cattle are the common yam, red yam, and ox-noble.
Wgt. 1877  G. Fraser Sketches 304:
Take share o' a potfu' o' yams.
Sh. 1898  Shetland News (29 Oct.):
What cam o' da twartree yaams 'at I set oot inunder da trap?

2. A contemptuous term for a silly, lumpish fellow, a blockhead. Cf. Tattie, 3. Ags. 1921  T.S.D.C.:
He's a regular yam.

3. Transf. The large mussel, Modiolus vulgaris, usually dredged up for bait (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Cf. horse-mussel s.v. Horse, 2.(13).

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"Yam n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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