Gamin

From the Dictionary of American Regional English, a publication I highly recommend. If your local library does not have it, you might encourage them to consider purchasing it. “gaum” v2 Alsp sp gawm, gorm [EDD gaum v.4 “To stare idly or vacantly.. gape.. be stupid, awkward”] chiefly NEng Cf gaming adj 1. with “around”: To move awkwardly or clumsily. 1892 DN 1.210 e MA, Gormy or gormin’ around [g@m-]. Said of a horse that “gawks” in stable or harness. 1909 DN 3.411 nME, Gawm around… To move around in an awkward way. 2. also with “up”: To make an awkward job of (something); to bungle, cobble up. [Perh infl by gaum v1 3] 1941 LANE Map 463 (Awkward, clumsy) 1 inf, sRI, He [g@mz] everything up. 1966-69 DARE (qu. KK63, To do a clumsy or hurried job of repairing something: “It will never last—he just_______.”) Infs KY40, ME22, Gaumed it up. 1969 DARE FW Addit KY6, Referring to a pre-fabricated house, Inf said it wouldn’t last because he contractor “just gaumed it up.” 1975 Goulde ME Lingo 114, Gorm… A favorite Maine word.. meaning to behave in a stupid, awkward manner… A mane who bungles a job has gormed it. 3. with “around”: See quot’ als vbl n “gauming.” 1971 DAAARE File Cape Cod MA, “Gawming” .. was not unknown .. in my childhood, 1902-1915+… Gawming was used in this sense, “Oh I just went down town gawming around,” meaning to look around to see what one could see or hear what one could hear… “Gawming” cold have been a variation of “gawking.” “gaum” n2 Also sp “go(r)m” Also gaumhead [EDD gaum sb.3; OEDS gom sb.4] nNEng Cf gaum adj2 A clumsy person; a lout. 1941 LANE Map 464 (Awkward person, lummox) 5 infs, VT, ME, Gaum; 1 inf, nsMA, Gaumhead.1975 Gould ME Lingo 114 Gorm—pronounced gaum… A clumsy oaf… A boy with two left hands is a gorm. 1977 Yankee Jan 113 cs ME, If it happens that you’re’ so conked out that you trip on your way out the door, you might feel like a lummox—which is a clumsy oaf—in other words, a gom.

Posted March 4, 2000

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