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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEEM, n.1 Also liem. n.Sc. variants of Eng. loom. See also etym. note and Lume, and cf. P.L.D. §§ 118, 146, 157. [lim]

1. A tool, implement or instrument of any kind (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 103; ‡ne.Sc. 1960). Obs. in Eng. Also fig.Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
Lat some ane 't's been a wutness to the ootrages o' the ceevil poo'er, as Gushets says, tak' up the leems.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 72:
Forks an' futtles were to hantles Leems nae handlet ilka day.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 12:
He'd wallets fu' o' queer oonchancie leems.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 81:
Sic maugersome billies an' sic limmers te fley Teuk a' o' my can an' my ugliest leems.

2. A weaving loom (Cai., ne.Sc. 1935).Abd. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 90:
I wyt they are as protty hose As come frae weyr or leem.
Bnff. 1853 Banffshire Jnl. (11 May):
The weaver aye sits at his leem.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 8:
The wyever o' the Strathy's leem.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 21:
The smith cam' sweatin' fae the fire, the weaver left his leem.

3. A vessel, basin, or other receptacle, usu. of earthenware (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 78; n.Sc. 1960); in pl. dishes, crockery (Id.).Abd. 1817 J. Christie Instructions 35:
To heat water to wash the liems.
Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 10:
Noo, Mem, ye'll jist pit in yer speen, An' never min' the leem.
Cai. 1915 John o' Groat Jnl. (25 June):
Ye entered by the hallan door, an' syne ye saw the bink Wi' bowls an' bickers, skellat joogs, an' siccan leems, for drink.
Bnff. 1918 M. Symon Wir Roup 3:
Syne there wis leems an' sic-like trok — They ca' them noo “Anteeks”.
Rs. (Avoch) 1949 Gsw. Herald (7 Feb.):
Dishes are “leems.”

4. Fragments of earthenware, sherds (Bnff. 1960). Used fig. (see note).Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 13:
Ye've waefu' waukin' dreams fan yer wardle's a' in leems.

[Meanings 1., 2. and 3. are found also s.v. Lume. In meaning 4. there has been some confusion with Lame, n., 2.]

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"Leem n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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