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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid



LAMB, n., v.


During the season of Valentine celebrations, no doubt many terms of endearment will be used. One of my favourites is ‘lamb’. I had always thought this term was confined to children, but Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) informs me that it is


“... a term of endearment, very frequently in General Scots, usually applied to a child, or a sweetheart...”.


DSL also gives examples of the term being used for a sweetheart, as in J Sock’s Simple strains of 1806:


“I'm right fain, ye needna doubt, To meet my Lammy”.


And this simple declaration from S L Crocket’s Grey Man of 1896:


“See, lammie, but I loved ye”.


Here’s an example from the Aberdeen Press and Journal of January 1925:


“The Scottish lover, not content with calling his lady love his dear lamb, wooes [sic] her most sweetly as his winsome wee lammie”.



However, the following wee lammie is definitely a child. This is from a poem published in the Londonderry Sentinel of 1943:


“When a man sees his wean toddlin’ on doon the street. The wee lammie wha’s anxious her daddy tae meet, He of course lifts her up and he gies her a kiss”.



The term can also be applied to grown-up children. Moreen Simpson (in the Aberdeen Evening Express, August 2022) describes waiting for the daily Wordle:


“So, there we have it; at the witching hour every night, my wee lamb and me in mortal combat to see who ‘shares’ first with Wordle and in how few moves…”.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel. Visit DSL Online at