The Scottish Word of the Week: Hameower

In the Dictionaries of the Scottish Language (DSL) hameower is defined as ‘homeward, home’ and ‘tongued, homely, commonplace, simple, in colloquial Scots’.

In Poems (1721) Allan Ramsay wrote: “That is to say, in hame o’er phrases, to tell you, Men of Mettle praise ilk verses of yours when they cannot ignite”.

And George MacDonald, in his novel of Scottish country life David Elginbrod (1863), described a character who feared that someone ‘would be offended by what she called her ‘hame-ower manner of speaking”.

In Scots Magazine, April 1945, a mother humbly tells us: ‘Oh, juist a hameower wee sang I made for Angus. It puts him to sleep.”

DSL also broadens the definition: “of habits or manners: plain, simply natural, unaffected…”. Ian Cameron uses the term very effectively in his biography The Jimmy Shand Story (1998): “There is also an added pride for some of us at being accepted to share in the Hame-Ower family life that surrounds Windyedge in Auchtermuchty.” .

The term is still in use. For example, from the July 2020 Press and Journal describing a summer job: “A college student on summer vacation for a season in the 1980s envisions in Sae Weel the sane sentiment at another end of the life-fest landscape, the Darg of the hard day [work], the characters, along with the great use of the hameower Dorian tongue in their whimsical humor, just bring life to life”. I hope it brought good memories to the student.

Scottish Word of the Week is written by Pauline Cairns Speitel. Visit DSL Online at

Read more: The Scottish Word of the Week: Doo The Scottish Word of the Week: Hameower

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