C verb (also gaum up) To smear, make sticky, muddy, dirty, or greasy; to disarrange, make untidy (also used facetiously, as in Oliver 1996 citation).
1895 Edson and Farchild Tenn Mts 371 gawmed up = covered with litter. 1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 392 If the house be in disorder it is said to be all gormed or gaumed up. 1921 Campbell Sthn Highlanders 145 [I]f we recall provincial English, we understand the mother who apologizes for the smeared condition of the baby’s face when she says it is “all gormed up.” c1945 Haun Hawk’s Done 289 The porch is done gormed up. 1960 Copper Jularker Bussed The drunkard gommed up (ruined) his family’s life. 1962 Dykeman Tall Woman 66 “Eh law,” Aunt Tildy would conclude, “everything is gaumed up, all over this country.” 1967 DARE gaum up = to get something sticky or smeared up (Gatlinburg TN). 1969 GSMNP – 27:16 She didn’t want him to get his new shirt gaumed up with blood. 1974 Fink Bits Mt Speech 11 gaum, gum = to smear. 1996-97 Montgmoery Coll. Don’t gom the place with those muddy boots (Ellis); = to cook, “I’ll go in the kitchen and gaum up a little bit of supper” (Oliver).
[OED gaum v 2a 1796→, cf coom n⁴ ; EDD gaum v3; DARE “to smear” formerly widespread, now chiefly Appalachians, “to disarrange” chiefly South Midland, esp Kentucky]
I’ve never heard the gorm variation, but as you can see from the photo I have an intimate knowledge of girls who like to gom.
Using the word gom to describe a mess is still common in my area of Appalachia today.
Come cook with me!
MOUNTAIN FLAVORS – TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN COOKING
Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley
Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.
Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. For the rest of the class details go here.