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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

LAME, n., adj. Also laim; laem (Sh.), †leam, lem(m), leem. See also Lime, adj. [lem; Ork. lim. See P.L.D. § 164.1.]

I. n. 1. Earthenware, china; a dish, crockery, dishes (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; I. and n.Sc. 1960). Comb. lame-rack, a dish-rack (Sh. 1960).Sc. 1708 Edb. Gazette (13–18 May):
Nenian Anderson being to give over Shop keeping, will sell of his War at a chape Rate, Viz. Lame, Glass, Fruits, Spice, Briss, Baskets, Cradles; and other Grossery War.
Ork. 1770 P. Fea MS. Diary (19 June):
Had 100 Leam with me. Sent a boat for roofs and Leems.
Ork. 1883 J. R. Tudor Ork. and Sh. 334:
At the wedding-feast a sort of loving-cup was handed round called “the bride's cog,” or “leem”.
Sh. 1892 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 25:
Wis kind o rackliss wi da laem, Bit couldna brak a tinnie.
Ork. 1930 Orcadian (13 Feb.):
Crockery ware was always called leam or leams in my young days.
Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 46. 18:
A man wi' a dyshcloot at seemed ta be swillin trow some lem ahint da coonter.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 63:
And her lower lip curves so smooth-like to her chin. I feel as if I could squeeze it and shatter it in scow like a piece of thin laim.

2. A piece of broken crockery, a sherd, esp. one used as a plaything (Sh., Ork., n.Sc. 1960); in pl. smithereens.Abd. 1861 J. Davidson Poems 130:
I smash'd the naphtha pig to lems.
Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 3:
The mornin' afore he had scattered their lames, An' dung doon their hoosies an' a'.
Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (26 Dec.):
The quines that sang like linties as they played their merry games Wi' jumpin'-ropes an' wyin'-wechts or bonny coloured lames.

II. adj. (from the n. used attrib.). Made of earthenware, china (Sc. 1808 Jam.; I. and n.Sc. 1960). In 1704 quote, ? Poss. a misreading for Lane, adj., 1.: i.e. single, solitary, by itself.Sc. 1703 Acts Parl. Scot. XI. 111:
Lame Purslane and Earthen Ware.
Arg. 1704 Sc. Antiquary I. 129:
A lame coin off three happnies.
Sc. 1707 R. Sibbald Hist. Slg. (1892) 50:
Here is a Potterie, where Earthen Pots, and severall other Leam Vessels are made.
Abd. 1735 Abd. Estate (S.C.) 23:
To 4 lame Basons 20d., to 4 lame Chamber Pots 3/8.
Ork. 1774 P. Fea MS. Diary (14 Dec.):
Went for Sanday with all my Coals Deals, 2 bar[rel]s of Lyme and the leam ware.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 22:
Ashets seem to have been the first things of lame ware, alias porcelain, that have been made.
Abd. 1902 E.D.D.:
A lame pig — an earthenware jar.

[Sc. equivalent of Eng. loam. O.Sc. lame, soil, a.1400, earthenware, c.1500, O.E. lām, clay, earth.]

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"Lame n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2022 <>



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