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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SOOM, v.1, n.1 Also soum (Sc. 1719 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 135; Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 91; Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads I. 53), sum (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.), sume (Sc. 18th-c. N.E.D.), sowm (Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 143); swoom (Ayr. 1786 Burns Earnest Cry v.; Slk. 1817 Hogg Tales (1874) 149; Fif. 1864 St. Andrews Gazette (20 Feb.)), swom- (Fif. 1895 G. Setoun Sunshine and Haar 44). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. swim (Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 129; Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 223; Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Mry. 1925; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen. (exc.I.)Sc., not common in ne.Sc. where the usual form is now Sweem. [sum]

I. v. A. Forms: inf. and pr.t.: as above: pa.t.: soomed (Sc. 1878 D.S.C.S. 208; Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Miners 133); pa.p.: soomed (Dmf. 1830 Curliana 64; Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms vi. 6), soumed (Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 193). Also fig.em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 70:
An sae they sat, luikin out on the swaws, an ahint them the twa brigs, an the muckle black ile-tankers that soomed back an forrit i the jow o the sea, ...
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 21:
I catcht her and pit her in my pail
and saw the speckles on her like sand
and teemed her back and saw her soom awa,
and we thocht naething o't.
Ayr. 2000:
If the river bursts its banks, we're gaun ti be soomin oot.

B. Sc. usages: 1. To test (seeds) by floating them on water.Bnff. 1889 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 61:
Careful farmers soumed their seed, i.e. threw it loose into water and rejected what floated.

2. Deriv. soomer, in pl. See quot.Rxb. 1955 Scotsman (1 Feb.) 6:
The “soomers” (the floating “paips” rubbed flat for racing in flowing water “doon the guitters” or “alang the strand”).

3. tr. To cause to spin at speed.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 185:
Sooming my peerie on the Dysters' Loan.

II. n. An extremely wet state, a torrent, flood, esp. in phr. in a soom, soaking, streaming, pouring (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1971). Also in Eng. dial.Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 23:
O'er her nose the sweat in sooms, In pours began to tumble.
Kcd. a.1826 J. Burness Garron Ha' 7:
He was in a soom o' sweat.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 2:
The thunner ruml't roon the hills, The howes were in a soom.

[For other Sc. forms see Sweem, and cf. Sool, Soop and P.L.D. § 76.]

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"Soom v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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