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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LIOOM, n., v. Also loom; lum(e), lu(u)m, løm, ljuem (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); loomie, lumie, ljumi. [′l(j)u(ə)m(i), løm]

I. n. 1. A gleam of light, a bright opening in an overcast sky, a clearing up of weather (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), løm).Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 22:
Der no a lüm in aa da lift.

2. The smooth glancing appearance of water caused by an oily substance on its surface, e.g. crushed limpets as fish-bait (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., lume, lioom, 1908 Jak. (1928), ljumi, Sh. 1961). The forms in -i(e) gen. connote a specific or limited patch of water showing lioom.Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 13:
Sprootin' da soe weel oot, till da water is clear wi' da lumie.
Sh. 1884 R. J. Munro Herring Fisheries 14:
The livers of the fish are crushed to prevent the waves breaking called “lioom.”
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (3 June):
I saw a piltik boolin' doon i' da luum.
Sh. 1961 New Shetlander No. 58. 11: 
Fish livers were "brukkit" and thrown overboard, so that the boat drove down into the "loomie."

II. v. 1. Gen. with up, op, of the sky at dawn or after rain or fog: to dawn, to clear up, to become brighter (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), løm; Ork. 1929 Marw., loom; Sh., Cai. 1961).Sh. 1892 Manson's Sh. Almanac:
Dan da ask lumed up an' we saa da caavies.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (1 April):
Luik i' da door agen an' see if he's no laek ta lum up.

2. To spread like oil on the surface of the water (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).

[Norw. dial. lømme, ljome, O.N. ljómi, shining, radiance, ljóma, to gleam, Icel., to dawn.]

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"Lioom n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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