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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

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.1Mearns 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 May 2024 <>



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