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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

GLAUM, GLAM, v.1, n. Also glaam; glom (Sh.), †glawm. [Sc. glɑ (:)m. but m.Sc. + -ǫ(:)-; Sh. glo:m]

I. v. For Jam.5's distinction between the use of Glam and Glaum, see definition to Clam, v.

1. To snatch, grab, gen. followed by at (Ork., Per., m.Lth., Bwk., Arg., Wgt., Kcb., Rxb., Uls. 1954); “it most generally denotes a feeble and ineffectual attempt; as that of an infant who begins to grasp at objects” (Ags. 1808 Jam.); “to grasp; to gather (in a heap)” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).Ayr. 1790 Burns Battle of Sherramuir i.:
Clans frae woods in tartan duds, Wha glaum'd at kingdoms three, man.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 43:
Tho' fiends soud glam him i' their cleeks Gaen frae the kirk.
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. v.:
Afore this bruilzie they glawm'd at a'thing about the place like as mony corbies.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 39:
As he beheld ilk bishop's claw Glaum at his fish and cleik them a'.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan III. ii.:
Winna be happy till I stretch my right hand frae the Alps and glaum at Italy.
Lnk. 1889 I. Darling Poems 76:
This couthie wee thing slaisters a' my goun, Syne raxes to my hair and glaums it doon.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To glom op taatis, to take up potatoes, soiling oneself in so doing.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 23:
A gien um a thripny-bit . . . Hei glaamed at eet leike a cock at a grozert.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 9:
Glaum'd at twae bannocks i' the press, Syne oot an' ower the rimey gress.

2. To seize or attempt to seize with the jaws; to devour, to eat greedily (Gall. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl., glam; Bwk.2 1948).Fif. 1825 Jam.:
A dog is said to glaum at a thing, when he opens his jaws and attempts to snatch it.
Sc.(E) 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xlix. 19:
An' wha glaum'd yo sae lang wi' a greedy fang, it's far eneugh aff they sal bide.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 112:
[He] glam'd the mice wi' muckle speed, An' qui'k an' quakan' doon they geed.

3. To grope (Ayr.4 1928), used “of one groping from blindness, or in the dark” (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 115). Also freq. glaamer (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.), glammer, in ppl.adj. glammerin', fumbling, unsteady.Mearns 1796 J. Burness Thrummy Cap 277–278:
Glaumin' the way back tae his bed He thinks he hears a person tread.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize iii.:
He had fearful visions of bloody hands and glimmering daggers glaming over him from behind his curtains.
Dmf. 1826 Blackwood's Mag. (Oct.) 586:
The reverend carle glammering, graipit to get His drawers and bauchels, to slip down the stair.
Rnf. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 21:
Glam'd for the key whare it did hing.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 513:
I got haud o' my breeks, and glaum't to get out my watch, but I couldna find it.
Abd. 1887 Bon-Accord (15 Oct.) 10:
Anither chiel . . . makin' a gey glammerin' kin o' a cast [with fishing-rod].

4. “To take hold of a woman indecorously” (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 692, glawm). Phr. to let glam.Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 18:
A saw him kiss her at the Lammas fair, an let glam at her nonsense.

II. n. 1. A clutch, a grip, a grab, “especially one that is ineffectual” (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Ork. 1929 Marw., glam; Ork., m.Lth., Bwk., Arg., Kcb., Rxb., Uls. 1954). Often in phrs. to make aat, to play —. Also fig.Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vi.:
Makin' a glaum i' the dark to grip grumphie by the lug.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 92:
As I wuz gaun alang, I notised a man staggerin' aboot, an' aye playin' glam at a black thing that wuz rinnin afore him.
Ags. 1880 A. M. Soutar Hearth Rhymes 97:
He made a glaum at Fortune's ba'.
Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies 28:
The ferryman at the stroke oar, when the wight rose to the surface, played glaum at the hair of his head to rescue him, but he only saved a wig.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 50:
She made a glaum tae get haud o' him.
Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 277:
Frost gat sic a fell glaum o' the verra saul o' ma treckle that it's hapshackelt an' bun-up i' the barrel!

2. A hug, squeeze.Tyr. 1929 “M. Mulcaghey” Rhymes 29:
I might give her a glam On the road to Portrush.

3. A mouthful (s.Sc. 1808 Jam., glam(mie) s.v. glammach).

4. A transient glimpse.Fif. 1895 “S. Tytler” Macdonald Lass iii.:
She was peeling potatoes . . . when she cried out that she had a glaum of her two grand-children lying with a snaw-drift for their shroud.

[Gael. glàm, to handle awkwardly, to lay hold of voraciously, to devour, n., a large mouthful.]

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"Glaum v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jun 2022 <>



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