Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

from 2005 supplement

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

BESOM, n. 1. Add quot.: m.Sc. 1979 Ian Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 41:
I'll blouter their nebs on the clean close wa'
an' gie them a taste o' heid the ba',
I'll gar them swidder tae chap ma door
when ma bristly besom dings their splore.

3. Add variant bizzem. Add to defin.: Also of an animal.
Add quots.: Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 98:
" ... Cheanick Budge is telt me all aboot yin cairry-on thoo wur haein' the day wi' yin geud for noathing bissom, Adromeda Laird. Slerpin' an' kissin' on the public road indeed. ..."
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 126:
"It's made me do a lot of thinking. It's a good thing whiles to get a jolt. I've not been thinking much about Lizzie Anderson, though. Everybody kens her for a depraved, evil-minded, lying besom."
m.Sc. 1985 Stuart Hood A Storm from Paradise 15:
a thowless bizzem wi' nae spunk in her.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 3:
You're this bizzum's brother
Yet you and I have a lot of time for one another,
Am I right or am I wrang eh, Mister Cléante?
Gsw. 1991 John Burrowes Mother Glasgow 45:
' ... I've only been called a Pom once. A Scotch Pom, actually. It was a silly old besom who called me it when I used to work in the baker's shop in Hargreaves Street. But she was a bitch. ... '
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 136:
'Haud up, ya bissom,' he muttered to one recalcitrant yowe, a large, old one, a leader of the flock, who was afraid of neither man nor dog and regarded him with a glittering, yellow eye.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 16:
"You're a bonny wee bizzum — the spit ae yir mither!"
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 28:
And that cheeky little besom Kay Clarke and Ana, did ya hear them, fucking laughing ...
Gsw. 2000 Herald 5 May 19:
The wee besoms are beginning to use lipstick and would gather in the school toilets for the application of said devilish make-up. Of more concern to the jannie was that after the Lolitas had put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror, leaving dozens of little prints.

4. (2) Add quot.: Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 37:
I mean the richt
dauntin tattie-bogle
wi the fairmer's filshens
flafft i the wun,
a neep for a heid,
an' deep howe een,
besom-shank airms
an' a kist o strae.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Besom n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Oct 2020 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: