Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LAMMER, n. Also lamer, -ar, -our; laum(m)er; laamer (Sh.). [′lɑmər]

1. Amber (Sh. 1960). Now mostly liter. Also attrib. Ppl.adj. laamered, having the appearance of amber, applied to the thick yellowish milk that appears in an animal before parturition (Ork. 1929 Marw.).Sc. 1725 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 102:
Her locks that shine like lammer.
Sc. c.1783 Lamkin in Child Ballads No. 93 A. xxiv.:
It is your lady's heart's blood; 'tis as clear as the lamer.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 40:
An amber bead, vernacularly called “laamer,” was commonly used to remove a chaff from the eye, both of man and beast.
Abd. 1924 L. Coutts Caul' Nor'-East 25:
I've brocht ye beads o' laumer!
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 72:
Her eyes were as the quiet depths O' lammer pools in Lyon.
Sc. 1931 Sc. Educ. Jnl. (18 Dec.):
In Summer-time in laum'er broun, An' nocht kenspeckle frae the rest O' ither birds the countrie roun.

2. Combs.: (1) lammer-bead, an amber bead, freq. used as a charm or amulet (Sh., Abd. 1960); (2) lammer-wine, see quot.(1) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 159:
Dought they compare wi' bonny Tweed, As clear as ony lammer-bead?
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
Dinna ye think poor Jeanie's een wi' the tears in them glanced like lamour beads?
Dmf. 1826 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 277:
Black luggie, lammer bead, Rowan-tree, and red thread, Put the witches to their speed!
Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) L. 23:
Lammer beids: an amulet for sair ein, still believed in by some. Formerly put around the neck of infants, from their birth till they were kirsent to prevent the witches casting cantrips, or the blight of the ill-ee, from hurting the wee heathen.
Bnff. c.1880 Gregor MSS.:
The Styan. This pustule was cured by rubbing it with a “laamer” i.e. amber bead.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 250:
A string o' laamer beads fir pittin roond aboot her neck.
Slg. 1900 Trans. Slg. Arch. Soc. 49:
Happy was the maiden that wore a string of laamer beads around her neck, for demons, witches, and such like ill-folk could not harm her.
Sc. 1937 Oor Mither Tongue (MacWhannel) 90:
Rings, keys, brass buttons, laumer beads.
(2) Sc. 1820 Scots Mag. (May) 452:
This imaginary liquor was esteemed a sort of elixir of immortality, and its virtues are celebrated in the following infallible recipe: — Drink ae coup o' the lammer-wine, An' the tear is nae mair in your e'e . . . An' drink nine coups o' the lammer wine, Your endday ye'll ne'er see.

[O.Sc. lammer, 1517, E.Mid.Eng., O.Fr. lambre (jaune), (yellow) amber, orig. ambergris, Fr. ambre gris, grey amber, Med.Lat. lambra, Arab. al ambar.]

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

"Lammer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: