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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).

WHEERUM, n., v. Also wheeram, -im; whuram (Rxb.). [′ʍirʌm]

I. n. 1. A trifle, anything insignificant (Abd. 1825 Jam.); a toy, plaything (Sc. 1880 Jam.); the least little bit, liter.Ayr. 1927 J. Carruthers A Man Beset i. v. (2):
Let there be a wheeram o' dung an hoor frae this, and I'll set ye aff wi' a week's wages.

2. Anything regarded as extraneous, incidental or ornamental to something else, an odd little extra, a quirk; fancy or ornamental piece of dress, “slurs or quavers in singing” (Rxb. 1825 Jam., whuram).Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xviii.:
“Which is the fourth commandment?” “I am no sure about it — I ken it has some wheeram by the rest.”

3. The act of working in a trifling insignificant manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 209); a trifling excuse (Ib.); an insignificant person (Ib.).

II. v. To work in a trifling insignificant manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 209); to play fast and loose, to act shiftily (Ib.); to turn (Ib.). Ppl.adj., vbl.n. wheeruman, -in, trifling, shifting, undependable(ness), shilly-shallying.Ib.:
Nane o' yir wheeruman, bit say at ance faht y'ir t'dee.

[From *wheer, poss. an arbitrary alteration of queer, + -Um.]

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"Wheerum n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



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