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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.

OAM, n., v. Also oom; owme (Abd. 1825 Jam.); u(i)m, øm(d) (I.Sc.); yoam, yome, yomm, youm, yowm. [(j)o:m; I.Sc. øm]

I. n. 1. Steam, as from a kettle, vapour (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1882 Francisque-Michel 424; Ags. 1931 Abd. Press & Jnl. (15 Jan.); ‡Sh., Ork., ne.Sc. 1964), condensation on a cold surface (Abd.27 1949). Also in Dur. dial.Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
Naething to be seen but spiritual oam ascending to the ceilin' in fragrant volumes frae half-a-dizzen o' tumblers.
Per. 1868 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet (1897) 151:
Our Strath is noo a' fu' o' yoam Like bilin' saut.
Abd. 1940 John o' Groat Jnl. (9 Feb.):
The sin cam oot aifter the shooer an' the yoam cam' reekin' aff o' the grun.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 29:
Och, I canna see,
winnocks greetin wi yoam, hear nae soond
but yon dowf bell.

2. A warm aroma, as that arising from cooking (Sh., Ork., ne.Sc. 1964).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 214:
Fin a set ma nose in at the kitchy door, a fan the youm o' the dainner. A wiz hungry afore, an' it made ma eye waur.
Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife iii.:
I mask't a gay curn maat the day; I'm sere ye'll fin the yowm.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
A øm f'ae de pot or kettle; der'r a øm gaun t'rough de hus.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (19 Dec.) 11:
The gran' yome o' broth bilin' comin' fae the hooses.

3. A warm, stuffy atmosphere, a “fug”, a gust of hot air, a heat-haze (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 214; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh., ne.Sc. 1964). Hence yoamy, rich-smelling, warm and pleasant in aroma (ne.Sc. 1964).Bnff. 1957 Banffshire Jnl. (23 July):
The fine yoamy smell o' peat reek.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 12:
Anither chukken, lichter in hue, an a pucklie oors younger than the first, sae he cud still myne wi gratitude the cosy yoam that wippit roun him afore birth, argyed - 'Bit we did hae a mither. It's yon kinno boxie thing, . . .'

4. A jet of thick, billowing smoke (Sh., ne.Sc. 1964).Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 58:
Sooty yoams that undivaulin' spue Frae this red lum.

5. From the v., a smoke, of tobacco.Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd x.:
Gin I haed ance gotten a bit yoam o' the pipe.

II. v. 1. To blow with a warm close air (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Banff. 214, youm).Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
I min' ae nicht, fin straikin ye,
Yer coat o yalla tortyshell
Ceest on the air a balmy smell,
Its sweet reek yoamt aa ower me.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 57:
The bools in the moo o Pretension,
The soor plooms o Censure,
Whyles yoam frae yon airless chaumer.

2. Of smoke: to pour out thickly (Sh., ne.Sc. 1964). Also ppl. adj.Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (8 July):
Each with a well-seasoned clay cutty, the blue reek yoamin' oot ower her shoulder.
Abd. 1981 Jack Webster A Grain of Truth (1988) 29:
Yesterday's paper laid the foundation for a criss-crossing of kindlers and a mixed crowning of coal and cinders and if the confounded thing went out, as it usually did, you splashed it with paraffin which fairly made the lum rumble in a roar of flame and maybe set fire to the soot, sending a shower of red sparks and black yoaming reek to torment an early-morning washing.
Abd. 1988 Jack Webster Another Grain of Truth (1989) 25:
... the warm aroma of the Bogie Roll which came yoaming from their Steenhive pipes to mingle with cattle breath and turn the atmosphere of the sale-ring into a steaming, blue-grey concoction.

3. Of a smoker: to puff.Abd. 1891 Trans. Bch. Field Club 14:
The ploughman then gangs his ain gait yommin' oot the reek.
Abd. 1961 Buchan Observer (31 Jan.):
Aifter sittin' for a wee fylie, yoamin' awa' at oor pipes.

[Norw. dial. oma, to be hot and hazy, to smell, ome, smoke, the smell of something burning, a warm breeze. Cf. Eem, n.1, v.1]

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"Oam n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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