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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LUM, n.1, v.1 Also lumm, lumb; loume (Bnff. 1716 Ann. Bnff. (S.C.) I. 188). Dim. lummie, -y. [lʌm]

I. n. 1. A chimney, the smoke-vent or flue of a fire-place, a chimney-stack (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Also attrib. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Dim. lummie, specif., a chimney on fire (Ags., Edb. 1960).Sc. 1701 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 299:
To Jamie Gray to depurss for swyping 7 lums.
Slk. 1719 T. Craig-Brown Hist. Slk. (1886) II. 98:
There haveing happenned upon Saturday last that a foul lumb did take fire.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 89:
Upo' the tap o' ilka lum The sun began to keek.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween viii.:
Till fuff! he started up the lum.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
Burn it would not for them, though; but away it flew up the lum.
Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 590:
A meashie o' hedderkows itt heed been fetshinn hemm ta soop da lumms o' Skerpa.
Rnf. 1840 J. Mitchell Wee Steeple's Ghaist 44:
They mak' brick lums as heigh, that spue As muckle reek.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 19:
There were two other methods of taking away the luck from a house. The one was for the tenant who was leaving to mount to the roof and pull up the crook through the lum, instead of removing it in the usual way by the door.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xxix.:
There is a reek coming up very freely from the lum.
Arg. 1898 N. Munro J. Splendid iv.:
One eye on the pot and the other up the lum, as we say of a glee or cast.
Abd. 1909 R. J. McLennan In yon Toon 33:
Faur wus I to pit twal' bolls, even allowin' the price is gaun up like a lum on fire.
Ags. 1923 V. Jacob Songs 44:
It's just the crack i' the lum o' the green wood burnin'.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 49:
Like thick reek blawn frae a lummy in Hell.
Sc. 1961:
Lang may your lum reek — a common expression to wish someone prosperity and plenty.
wm.Sc. 1965 Alan Sharp A Green Tree in Gedde (1985) 9:
They are seen across an expanse of roofs and chimneys, the slates dull purple scales and the ridges presided by clumps of lums, cans churning and smoke pennons flying.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 5:
'Oh you scoundrel!' she scolded. 'You bad wild boy!'
Then she would tell me that the horned and hoofed devil had flown over the rooftops on black, scaly pinions of soot, that he was sitting on our chimney right this minute, listening to me, and would be down the lum at my next word.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 71:
... in the days whan Auld Reikie wis Auld Reikie, ye cud aye tell frae our house whan it wis denner-time bi the lum-reik that stertit up in thon muckle toun.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 14 Aug 20:
There you will also find, in the lay-by of the gods, one of Scotland's precious phenomena, the Beauty Grease-Spot Catering Wagon. Seekers after scenic sustenance are drawn to it like acolytes to an altar. They arrange their cars in a semi-circle, pointing inwards in ritual obeisance, as the lum-smoke smears itself solemnly across the Highland air.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 199:
His mother rushed to put towels over the mirror and bade him not to stand near the window, lest lightning coming down the lum needed an exit.
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 9:
The first Lammas fires bank doun,
reek wimples up the lum
an grey coals that yince were reid skirl nae mair,

2. Specif.: (1) the whole structure of the chimney and fireplace with the adjacent recesses, the chimney-piece, the chimney-corner (Sh., Cai., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1961). Also attrib.m.Lth. 1793 G. Robertson Agric. m.Lth. 33:
The lumm, or chimney, of a dismal aspect, erected against the end-wall, by its unaccountable width, took up a great proportion of the hut.
s.Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 149:
He gied me a cuff i' the haffits that made me birl half donnert by the cheek o' the lum.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 77:
Puir buddy, she lukit startit like, an' sut doon awa at the tither side o' the lum.
Knr. 1895 H. Haliburton Dunbar 22:
King Jamie crost his hunting legs, An' sat into the lum.
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 134:
They were Bessie Weir of the next cot, Margie Craig the goatman's wife who'd been gossiping at her fence, and Margie's ancient mother who sat all day every day in the lum corner with a clay pipe, staring through the window chink, watching everyone who came or went.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 144:
The house was in a state right enough, falling apart, ... with her stick she chapped the walls; the stonework around the lum, the wooden skifting at floor-level, the floorboards themselves.

(2) in old rural houses: a wide wooden canopy suspended over the fire and serving as a smoke vent, the part projecting above the roof being usually bound with straw ropes. Cf. Hing, I. 9. (12); in more primitive buildings, a wood-lined opening in the ridge of the roof for light and ventilation and the escape of smoke (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.).Ags. 1725 Dundee Charters, etc. (1880) 164:
No Tradesman build or rebuild any clay, plaister, or timber chimnys or Lumms within this Burgh.
Abd. 1744 Abd. Estate (S.C.) 73:
To 2 days work for making a lumb and basin chimney and hanging the bellows . . . £1. 0. 0.
Bnff. c.1825 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith (1880) ix.:
A fire was set at the gable of a Dwelling; and above it, in the Roof, a Hole, or Timmer Lum, was left for ventilation and for the “reek” to escape . . . Then followed “Hinging Chumlies.”
Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 1064:
The farm-houses with lum and earthen-floor have entirely disappeared, and in their stead plain and comfortable erections have been built with chimneys.
Rxb. c.1885 W. Laidlaw Poetry (1901) 34:
A curious rustic lum Of aiken rungs wi' strae raips twined.
Ork. c.1912 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 8:
The lum or opening in the roof for the smoke was about 2 feet square, and made of wood tied round with simmons [straw ropes] outside, and was not placed over the fire, but 3 or 4 feet behind the back, [q.v.], and a board used for skylin was shifted to the wind side by a long pole fastened to it.
Abd. 1920 S. Wilken Ellon in Bygone Days 20:
A lang timmer lum, wippet wi' strae rape.

(3) The funnel of a steamship or locomotive. Gen.Sc.Gsw. 1902 J. J. Bell Wee MacGreegor x.:
See the yatts thonder! See thon big yin wi' the yella lum!

3. A vent or funnel in a pie (Ags. 1961); a paraffin lamp glass (Id.).Sc. 1736 Mrs. McLintock Receipts 8:
Put on the Lid, and send it to the Oven; when 'tis near fired, pour in a Mutchkin of white Wine at the Lumb.

4. A long funnel-like passage worn by natural forces through a cliff (ne.Sc. 1961); a vertical fault or joint in a mass of rock (Ags. 1961).Bnff. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 I. 472:
A cave, or rather den, about 50 feet deep, 60 long, and 40 broad, from which there is a subterranean passage to the sea, about 80 yards long, through which the waves are driven with great violence in a northerly storm, and occasion a smoke to ascend from the den. Hence it has got the name of Hell's Lumb.
Bnff. 1876 S. Smiles Sc. Naturalist 250:
While in the “Lum”, he was at the back of the cliffs, and in close proximity with the breeding places of the myriads of sea-fowl.
Sh. 1899 Evans & Buckley Fauna Shet. 23:
A most wonderful “lum” or shaft called the “Kirn of Slettans”, 170 feet deep, reaching down to the sea.
Wgt.3 1930:
As she descended the mountain face by a steep “lum” she startled a red fox, which had been basking on a “dass” at the foot of a cliff.
m.Sc. 1982 Olive Fraser in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 93:
Yon's nae wife's hoose ayont A'an
In the green lift ava
Yon's the cauld lums o' Ben A'an,
Wha's smeek is snaw.

5. A tall silk hat, a top-hat (Gsw. 1880). Gen.Sc. Deriv. lummer. id. See also 6. (6) below.Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xx.:
Dressed in my sirtoo an' my lum.
Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 190:
We saw that the spare black figure was surmounted by a silk hat, even although the morning had been wet; and by the time the whistle blew, every boy and girl knew him as “The Lum”.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie i. viii.:
The tie was noathin' to his lum hat. I never liked to see Calum in a lummer.
Rnf. 1927 J. H. Bone Loud-Speaker 17:
Tak' aff your lum, Uncle, I'll gie it a wipe wi' a cloth.

6. Combs. and phrs.: (1) hingin lum, = 2. (2). See Hing, I. 9. (12); ‡(2) licht ida lum, a Sh. fisher-taboo expression to indicate that there are three or more fish caught on the line (Sh. 1961). Cf. 2. (2); (3) lum-can, a chimney-pot (Sh., Abd., Ags., Per. 1961); (4) lum-cheek, the chimney-corner, fireside (Sh., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1961). Cf. 2. (1); (5) lum-cleek, the iron hook hung from the rantle-tree in the chimney, on which the cooking-pot is suspended (Sc. 1828 Scott Guy M. Note D); (6) lum-hat, = 5. Gen.Sc. Ppl.adj. lum-hatted; also fig. in phr. to speak lum hat, to speak in a pompous or affected manner; (7) lum-heid, the chimney-top, the part of the chimney rising above the roof (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc.; †(8) lum-hole, a smoke-hole in a roof. See 2. (2); †(9) lum-licht, the light which came from the wide type of chimney; (10) lum-pig(g), a chimney-pot (wm.Sc. 1825 Jam.); (11) lum-rack, a rack or storage shelf in the chimney; (12) lum-root, the base of the chimney-stack where it rises from the roof; (13) lum-sweep, a chimney-sweep; (14) lum-tap, the top of a chimney or funnel (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1961); (15) lum-tile, a chimney-pot; (16) to mak a lum o one's mou, to be addicted to smoking (Sc. 1903 E.D.D.; Abd. 1961).(1) Abd. 1960 Stat. Acc.3 415:
Many of the old houses, with the once familiar “hingin' lum”, are also fast disappearing.
(2) Sh. 1956 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 342:
When fishing, if far down on the line you saw the flash of the white belly of a fish, you daren't say, “I've caught a fish.” But you might say, observing due caution, “I see white,” or if two fish were on the line, “White ipo white,” or if more than two, “White ipo wheedo.” Or you might say, “Light ida lum.” Apparently it was safe to mention “lum,” a land object, if one meant by it not a real lum but something else!
(3) Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 176:
Lum-cans tell o't as doon they're whumlin'.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) ix.:
The brick an' lum-cans aff Mistress Mollison's hooses.
(4) Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 9:
The Laird beside the lum-cheek sat aye.
(6) Fif. 1873 J. Wood Ceres Races 39:
His lum-hat back upon his neck.
Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chron. Keith vi.:
50 years ago even a Master did not always “sport a lum Hat.”
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls xi.:
As a good Auld Licht, Tammas reserved his swallow-tail coat and “lum hat” for the kirk and funerals.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 139:
He turned oot in his Sabbath day surtoo and a greeny black lum hat.
Sc. 1920 D. Rorie Auld Doctor 4:
Wi' an auld fish-hake an' a great muckle skate, An' a lum hat wantin' the croon!
Abd. 1928 A. Black Three Sc. Sk. 29:
Man, that's fine, for I hate haen tae spick lum hat.
Sc. 1935 B. Marshall Uncertain Glory i.:
We belong to the Auld Kirk; they belong to the lum-hatted English Church.
Dundee 1986 David A. MacMurchie I Remember Another Princes Street! 34:
At one time, there were as many as twenty-five hansoms in Dundee. The drivers wore black coats and 'lum hats' and charged a shilling a mile.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 25:
Another time someone who called Mistress Gilmour bun-faced, had his shoe-lacings tied together under the coffee-house table and his lum hat tacked to the bonnet rack.
m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 125:
... but the most snobbish of English attire - morning dress. Perhaps he could thole the trousers, jacket and tie but the problem was the grey lum hat. He was convinced he had been conned into wearing the tallest ever made!
Gsw. 1999 Jimmy Boyle Hero of the Underworld 121:
'Hello Slates, Sally,' he said, tipping his lum hat on entering.
(7) Sc. 1700 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 310:
Being a thatch house and haveing ane clay lumb head.
Ayr. 1707 A. Edgar Old Church Life (1885) 264:
There were not corbies on my grandfather's lum-head, as there were on your father's when he died.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 133:
Reek in streaming tow'rs frae lumb-heads leams.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxvii.:
The very blue reek that came out of the lum-head pat me in mind of the change of market days with us.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxiv.:
Pigs from the lum-heads came rattling down like thunder-claps.
Ags. 1848 Feast of Liter. Crumbs (1891) 22:
And aye again wild gusts o' wind Wad send the slates and lum-heads crashin'.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 145:
He . . . asked me to fix some chumbly cans on his lumheids.
(8) Ork. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Report App. A. 274:
There was no window, no opening but the “lum-hole,” near the middle of the roof, and a reek-hole in one end of the hut, always stuffed up unless when the smoke became intolerable.
(9) Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray xv.:
But when the fire was smokeless, the lum-licht made the clean hearthstanes . . . and scoured bits of furniture an enjoyable home.
(10) Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 108:
The doors did ring — lum pigs down tuml'd.
Gall. 1882 J. Douglas Bk. Gall. 73:
Till there wasna a lumpiz [sic] staunin on the seivin hills o' Roum.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 66:
Their crawsteppit gavels and wildernesses o' lum-piggs.
(11) Ags. 1857 A. Douglas Ferryden 86:
Ging awa', Kirsty, an' gie that puir thing a dog-bit frae the lum-rack.
(12) Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 256:
The cat . . . used to mount to the house-top, and at the lum-root take its place to watch for sparrows.
(13) Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings i. 27:
That African man o' hers! — that common lum-sweep.
(14) Kcb. 1826 J. Hannah Rhymes (1854) 36:
My faither said it was the win' That skirled aroun' the auld lum tap.
Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption xxix.:
The steam-bott . . . snoovt awa and snoovt awa tho' the water was jaupin till the Lum tap.
Sc. 1931 Glasgow Herald (3 Nov.) 5:
When the head of the brush appeared at the “lum-tap” the boy was allowed to make the return journey.
(15) Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 58:
A seat ahint some auld lum-tile.

II. v. 1. To form like a chimney, to hollow out in a funnel-like shape; specif. in Mining: see quot.Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 43:
When the roof of a working falls to a great height in a conical form it is said to be lummed.

2. To emit smoke (from a funnel).Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West (1939) 88:
There's coaches coming, steam-boats lumming.

[O.Sc. lumb, = I. 1., from 1609, E.M.E. lumbe, a roof-opening, of obscure origin. See note to Lum, n.2]

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"Lum n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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