Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BROOM, n. Used to denote the broom, Sarothamnus or Cytisus scoparius, as in St.Eng., but note the following peculiarly Sc. usages, and see Brume and Breem, n.1

1. In phr.: to sing the broom, “to cry out in distress because of punishment inflicted” (Bnff.2 1936). Also fig. Abd.(D) 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 196:
Ah, that's me on to the lead. Noo, aw'll gar some o' ye sing the broom, as the man said. [Origin unknown. Most of our correspondents were doubtful as to the exact meaning of the phrase.]

2. In comb.: broom-dog, an instrument for grubbing up broom; cf. breem deevil, s.v. Breem, n.1 Mearns 1809 G. Robertson Gen. View Agric. Kcd. 447:
They call it a Broom-dog. It is a stout stick of about six feet long, shod with iron on the lower end, and having there a projecting jagged spur for laying hold of the roots. It operates somewhat like a toothdrawer, with a powerful lever.

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"Broom n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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