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interj. New England
Used to express surprise.
[Alteration of vow.]
Our Living Language New Englanders sometimes express surprise by saying, "Well, I vum!" This odd-sounding word is in fact an alteration of the verb vow that goes back to the days of the American Revolution. It is also heard simply as "Vum!" or as a sort of past participle: "I'll be vummed!" A Southern equivalent is swan or swanny, also meaning "swear": "Now, I swanny!" According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word swanny derives from the dialect of the north of England: I s' wan ye, "I shall warrant ye" (that is, "I shall guarantee you").
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
to swear or make an oath
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
vum- To swear or vow.
See also related terms for vow.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.