Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SCAM, v., n. Also scame, scaam, scamb, scaum, scawm, ska(u)m, ¶scowm. [′skɑ:m, ′sk:m]
I. v. 1. To burn slightly, to scorch, singe with dry heat, of cloth, skin, cakes, etc. (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., n.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Uls. 1969), the down off a plucked fowl (Traynor); of nettles: to sting. Also fig. Ppl.adj. scaumed, skaummit, having the mark of a burn (Sc. 1808 Jam.), discoloured, faded by heat or sun, of cloth (Fif. 1969).
Sc. 1746 Jacobite Memoirs (Chambers 1834) 486:
The cuttie being exceedingly short, Malcolm scamed the Prince's cheek with the tow. Per. 1811 J. Sim Poems 36:
Feard they get a singet crown, Or scamit clais. Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 53:
Wha's to blame if he shou'd fever, An' scad his lungs, an' scawm his liver? m.Sc. 1842 A. Rodger Stray Leaves 109:
His fause loopy tongue maistly ruined us a', O had it been scaumed to the skinning o't. Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 43:
If she disna get scammit for her leein', I dinna ken what use there is for a deevil ava. Uls. 1901 Northern Whig:
In County Armagh milk which, in the process of being heated, is singed slightly, is said to be “scammed”, and in other parts of Ulster it is applied to a slight burn — i.e., a woman smoothing clothes on touching by chance the warm iron with her hand will say “I'm scammed”. Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 135:
The scaumin' lowe o' hell. Crm. 1933 D. A. Mackenzie Stroopie Well 5:
For fear the nettlies scam my leggies. Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 11:
Phemie's bannocks wir a' scammed on the ootside an' raw levan i' the inside. Per.4 1966:
He gaed doon the road like a scamed cat.
Comb. scam-scone, †scaumt —, a pancake or crumpet, made of meal, water and salt and toasted (Crm., Rs., Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.). Also fig. as in quot. Cf. scaddit-scone s.v. Scaud, v., 1.
Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. XI. 325:
When a lass had a spurious wane, she is called a scaumt scone.
2. Of frost: to scorch, blight (foliage) (n.Sc., Per. 1969).
Sc. 1882 Pall Mall Gazette (26 July) 4:
Snow and sleet, which “scam” the soft plants, and leave them withered as if they had been touched by fire. Abd. 1949 Buchan Observer (27 Dec.):
“Scaumin” the oat braird and the early grass in its bitter blast.
3. To “wither” with reproof, to scold severely (Bnff., Per. 1969).
Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 49:
Fin her an' the kitchie-deem fa' oot, an' I come in for a scaumin' wi' the lave.
4. To cover with a film of moisture, a haze, shadow or the like. Vbl.n. scowman, a haze or gloomy appearance in the sky.
Gall. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 277:
The windows are scaum'd. s.Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms lxxx. 10:
The heights, they war scaum'd wi' her schadowe. Mry. 1914 Trans. Banffshire Field Club 25:
A scowman or blackie were signs of storm to windward.
5. To injure, crack, esp. in ppl.adj. scambed (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); to spoil, damage, harm in some way, esp. of clothing (Ork. 1929 Marw.).
II. n. 1. A burn, singe, scorch, or the mark of such (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., n.Sc., em. Sc. (a), Uls. 1969); a sudden glow of heat or red in the sky (Cai. 1939); an application of heat, as by a poultice.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (21 May):
What'll doo lay at him [a cut], Mansie? A scam o' raw garr? Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. 293:
The big blazin' forge, and Grigg's pincers reid het. Garr'd this dreamer think sair o' the scaums he micht get. Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray v.:
Neither skaum nor scart were upon us. Ags. 1947 Forfar Dispatch (13 Feb.):
Mary Ann cried up tae get a scaum at my feire-side, her ain coals bein dune. Abd. 1956 People's Jnl. (20 Oct.) 3:
Lookin' oot the piggies an' giein' 'em a gweed scaum afore sen'in' 'em tae some ferm tae get full't o' saut butter.
2. A withering or scorching of foliage by frost, etc. (n.Sc., Per. 1969).
Heard from a gardener putting weed-killer on a garden walk. — “If you're nae carefu, it's easy to gie a scaum to the edge o' the green”. Abd. 1961 People's Jnl. (13 May):
A touch o' frost in the mornin's fairly garred 'em hap the green shaw, for fear o' them gettin' a scaum.
†3. Fig. A hurt to one's feelings, a wound, a harm, cause of suffering (Bnff., Abd. 1969).
Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm xli.:
The leddy cairried her heid heicher nor ever — maybe to hide a scaum she had taen, for a' her pride. Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 42:
He need's it, for there's mony whisks An' scaums abeen the sod.
4. A spot, blemish, crack, injury (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., Ags., Per., Fif. 1969), esp. of some superficial damage (Ork. 1929 Marw.), an abrasion (Sh. 1969). Adj. scammy, with patchy marks. Comb. scammy post, a soft, much-jointed sandstone in thin layers interspersed with deposits of mica. Also in n.Eng. dial.
Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 663:
White scammy post, and coal partings. Abd. 1925 A. Murison Rosehearty Rhymes 104:
I thocht the warl a lo'esome place, Without a scaum or blot. Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 234:
Dey mount agen dir grit war chairgers, An return withoot a scam.
5. A film of vapour, a haze, mist, or shadow (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 57). Adj. scaumie, misty, hazy. Phr. the scaum o' the sky, haze (MacTaggart).
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 421:
A scaumy day, a day when the sun's face is behind white thin clouds. There is red scaum, white scaum, and many others. By the colour or hue of the scaum, do Wather-wiseakers guess about coming weather. Rxb. 1877 J. Veitch Hist. Sc. Border 426:
A wide-spreading web of greyish cloud — the “skaum” of the sky. Sc. 1879 P. Waddell Isaiah xxv. 5:
Like lowe in the scaum o' a clud. Gall. 1901 H. Wallace Greatest of These xxv.:
He knew too well what that “skaum” meant, as the Galloway shepherds called it, that haze drawn across the sky, light as a gossamer at first but growing denser and thicker till the sun was blotted out altogether. Sc. 1928 Scots. Mag. (May) 143:
The grit muckle room, he tellt me, fadit oot, and he thocht to be harled into a fell deep scaum through whilk he heard the lassie's voice like as if it were a hunner mile awa'. wm.Sc. 1929 R. Crawford Quiet Fields 36:
While gloamin' haps baith howe an' brae Wi' scaumie wing.
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"Scam v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/scam>
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