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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

TUMSHIE, n. Also tumzie (Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C.). [′tʌmʃi]

1. A jocular or colloq. name for a turnip (m. and s.Sc. 1973). Comb. tumshie-gowk, a scarecrow (w.Lth. 1975). See Gowk, n.1, 2. Gsw. 1947 J. F. Hendry Fernie Brae 128:
Gee we hid a lot o' fun pinchin' totties an' tumshies.

2. Contemptuous term for a person, esp. an idiot.Gsw. 1986 Michael Elder Take the High Road: The Man from France 15:
No one quite knew why, but it must have started during their respective schooldays because she still referred to him as Tumshie McGurk.
Sc. 2000 Herald 8 May 14:
I notice the latest in-word of New Labour is performance-related pay. If any teacher or worker in the NHS does not come up to scratch then their salary will be reduced or they will be sacked. I don't expect this will apply to MPs otherwise many of the tumshies I watch and listen to would be immediately penniless.

[Prob. orig. a children's deformation of Turmet or Eng. dial. form tummit with dim. -Sie ending.]

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"Tumshie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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