Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WHILOM, adv., adj., conj. Also with adv. gen. ending after Whiles, whil(e)oms.

I. adv. Sometimes, at times; formerly, at an earlier time, previously, aforetime. Now only liter. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 14:
Whiloms they tented, an' sometimes they plaid.
Sc. 1827  Scott Journal (1950) 320:
Dined at Lord [Medwyn's], John Forbes whileoms.
Ags. 1901  W. J. Milne Reminiscences 289:
The sichts whilom seen, dancin' roond that whin steen.
Edb. 1959  A Sang at Least 27:
Adam . . . tined us Eden's boure, And the hain'd gift whileoms o sempillness.

II. adj. Former, one-time. Orig. and still chiefly Sc., phs. thought of as a variant of Umquhile. Sc. 1837  Carlyle French Rev. III. v. iii.:
General Doppet, a whilom Medical man.

III. conj. While, at the period of time when. Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Liter. Per. 1898  C. Spence Poems 146:
I'm the Genius of this linn, And now have stilled the water's din That I might speak whilom you're near.
Sc. 1913  H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i iii.:
A' thae maisters and dominies wham ye kent weel, whilom they war still leevin'.

[O.Sc. quhilum, formerly, sometimes, 1375, = II., 1389, quhillumys, at times, a.1500, O.E. hwīlum, dat. pl., used adv., of hwīl, a while.]

Whilom adv., adj., conj.

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"Whilom adv., adj., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2019 <>



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