Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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OAM, n., v. Also oom; owme (Abd. 1825 Jam.); u(i)m, øm(d) (I.Sc.); yoam, yome, youm, yowm. [(j)o:m; I.Sc. øm]

I. n. 1. Steam, as from a kettle, vapour (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1882 Francisque-Michel 424; Ags. 1931 Abd. Press & Jnl. (15 Jan.); ‡Sh., Ork., ne.Sc. 1964), condensation on a cold surface (Abd.27 1949). Also in Dur. dial. Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
Naething to be seen but spiritual oam ascending to the ceilin' in fragrant volumes frae half-a-dizzen o' tumblers.
Per. 1868 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet (1897) 151:
Our Strath is noo a' fu' o' yoam Like bilin' saut.
Abd. 1940 John o' Groat Jnl. (9 Feb.):
The sin cam oot aifter the shooer an' the yoam cam' reekin' aff o' the grun.

2. A warm aroma, as that arising from cooking (Sh., Ork., ne.Sc. 1964). Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 214:
Fin a set ma nose in at the kitchy door, a fan the youm o' the dainner. A wiz hungry afore, an' it made ma eye waur.
Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife iii.:
I mask't a gay curn maat the day; I'm sere ye'll fin the yowm.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
A øm f'ae de pot or kettle; der'r a øm gaun t'rough de hus.
Abd. 1959 Peopte's Jnl. (19 Dec.) 11:
The gran' yome o' broth bilin' comin' fae the hooses.

3. A warm, stuffy atmosphere, a “fug”, a gust of hot air, a heat-haze (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 214; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh., ne.Sc. 1964). Hence yoamy, rich-smelling, warm and pleasant in aroma (ne.Sc. 1964). Bnff. 1957 Banffshire Jnl. (23 July):
The fine yoamy smell o' peat reek.

4. A jet of thick, billowing smoke (Sh., ne.Sc. 1964). Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 58:
Sooty yoams that undivaulin' spue Frae this red lum.

5. From the v., a smoke, of tobacco. Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd x.:
Gin I haed ance gotten a bit yoam o' the pipe.

II. v. 1. To blow with a warm close air (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Banff. 214, youm).

2. Of smoke: to pour out thickly (Sh., ne.Sc. 1964). Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (8 July):
Each with a well-seasoned clay cutty, the blue reek yoamin' oot ower her shoulder.

3. Of a smoker: to puff. Abd. 1961 Buchan Observer (31 Jan.):
Aifter sittin' for a wee fylie, yoamin' awa' at oor pipes.

[Norw. dial. oma, to be hot and hazy, to smell, ome, smoke, the smell of something burning, a warm breeze. Cf. Eem, n.1, v.1]

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"Oam n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2021 <>



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