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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).

Scummar, -er, n. Also: skummar; skom(m)er, scomour, skummer, scwmmar, skwmmer, scowmar, scumer, skumar, -er, skemmare. [ME and e.m.E. schumour in sense 1 below (north., 1326), scomor (1399), skumour a pirate (1398), scummer (1582); also skemour (1392), -ere (c1440), skymoure (c1430), -er (1459), skimmer (a1490); in sense 1 ‘after OF escumoir (mod. F. écumoire), in sense 2 after escumeor (mod. F. écumeur)’ (OED), both f. escumer to skim.]

1. A shallow ladle, or other utensil, for removing floating matter from the surface of a liquid; a scummer. Also attrib.(a) 1329 Exch. R. I 228.
ij myour et j scomour
1331 Exch. R. I 379.
v cratis ferreis pro coquina, et v scomours
1597 Edinb. Test. XXX 290b.
xxxvij skommeris of yron at xviij d. the pece
1648 Linlithgow Palace 332.
Ane laddell, ane skomer, ane brander
(b) 1542 Acts & Decr. I 140b.
Ane frying pan price tua merk ane skummer of fische price xiiij s.
c1572 Mar & Kellie MSS Suppl. 31.
Tua laiddillis and a skummer
1589 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 540.
Twa skwmmeris, 5 s. 4 d.
1627 Glasg. Univ. Mun. III 529.
Twa laidles and ane scummer
1646 Edinb. Test. LXII 68.
Ane skummer with ane flaming ladill
1683 Inv. in Donibristle Mun. (Earl of Moray's MSS) 4 (9-10 May).
A skummer
(c) 1597 Household Bks. Jas. VI and Anne 27 Feb.
Ane skumar
1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 26 Sept.
A skumer of bras
1635 Haddington Corr. 303.
In the kitching … ane laydle, ane skumer
1661 Buccleuch Mun. 314.
1715 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 184.
A brass ladle and skumer
(d) 1565 Prot. Bk. Thomas Johnsoun 97.
3 yrne ladillis, 2 skemmares
attrib. 1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 649/1.
Ane skummer ladill

2. A sea-rover, pirate. [Cf. F. écumeur de la mer.] 1375 Barb. xiv 375.
A scowmar [C. scummar, 1571 scwmmar] of the se, Thomas of Downe hattyn wes he, … salyt wp the Ban

3. One who gathers scum. Only fig. Urquhart Rabelais ii xxx.
Pope Boniface VIII, a scummer of pots

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"Scummar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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