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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid



HAMEOWER, adv., adj.


In the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL), hameower is defined as “homewards, towards home” and, “of speech, homely, everyday, simple, in the vernacular, Scots”.


In Poems (1721), Allan Ramsay wrote:


“That is to say in hame o'er Phrases, To tell ye, Men of Mettle praises Ilk Verse of yours when they can light on't”.



And George MacDonald, in his novel of Scottish country life David Elginbrod (1863), described a character fearing someone


“might be offended at what she called her ‘hame-ower fashion of speaking’”.



In the Scots Magazine of April 1945, a mother modestly informs us:


“Och, juist a hameower wee sang I made for Angus. It pits him owre to sleep”.



DSL also widens the definition:


“of habits or manners: plain, simple natural, unaffected…”.


Ian Cameron in his biographical The Jimmy Shand Story (1998) uses the term to good effect:


“For some of us, too, there is an added pride in being accepted to share in the hame-ower family life that surrounds Windyedge at Auchtermuchty”.



The term is still used. For example, from the Press and Journal of July 2020, describing a summer job:


“a student on’s simmer holidays for a season at the eyn o the 1980s an taks in sae weel the hale feelin o anither wye o life fest fadin awa - the lanscape, the hard day’s darg [work], the characters, alang wi the gran use o the hameower Doric tongue in aa its droll humour jist bringin aathing tae life”.


I hope it gave the student some fond memories.


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