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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Strang(e, Strainge, adj. (adv.). Also: straynge, streng(e, straunge, strawnge. [ME and e.m.E. straunge (c1290), strange (1297), strawnge (Cath. Angl.), OF estrange (1080 in Larousse), L. extrāneus external, foreign.]

A. adj. 1. Of persons or things: Of another country, foreign, alien; belonging to a place other than one's own, unknown in one's own locality.(a) 1375 Barb. iv 469.
The king arywyt in Arane … And speryt … tithand Off ony strang [C. strange] men in that land
1375 Barb. ix 688. ?1438 Alex. ii 2671.
Throw strang men [F. gent d'estranges terres] ar men succured in feild
c1420 Wynt. ii 322.
His bredyre ten salde hym [sc. Joseph] for-thi Tyll strang [C., W. strange] merchandys for inwy
?14.. Ship Laws c. 4 (H1).
Of ilk fraell of saip remanand in the burgh of strangemanis vnsauld
14.. Acts I 5/2.
Of herberyng of strange men [L. de advenis hospitandis]
14.. Acts I 308/2.
And ilk strange man [L. extraneus] that aw custom … for a bol [of salt] he sal gyf nocht
1456 Hay I 235/17.
Ambassadouris of strange princis suld nocht be stroublit
c1475 Wall. iv 179.
He chargit nayne bot at thair awne gud will; For thai war strang [1570 Thocht thai war strangeris]
1513 Doug. i Prol. 269.
This other buke … Quhilk vndir cullour of sum strange Franch wycht so Franchly leys
1550 (c1650) Dundee B. Laws 13.
All strang shippes resortand to the port and peir of this brugh
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 88.
Tyll strange pepyll thoucht He hes geuin lycence To be our scurge
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 634.
To pronunce of wordis ten thousand In strange langage
1559–60 St. A. Kirk S. 13.
We hartlie renunce … prayeris in strange language, and multipliing of them to certane numer
1562-3 Winȝet II 32/30.
Lat ws go and follow strange Godis, quhome thow misknawis
1635 Dundonald Par. Rec. 399.
The said minister and elders have interdytit … all the members of thair said paroch to supplie strange beggars comming from any other paroch quhatsoever in any sort of … meit, drink, loodging
1611-57 Mure Psalmes cxliv 7.
O Saue me from strang children's hands [L. alieni genarum]
(b) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 92 (B).
Na burges dwelland in the burgh aw to herbery a straynge man langar na a nycht in hys hows
1549 Compl. 24/20.
The oncoutht ande straynge pepil sal eyt the frute of the eyrd that thou hes lauborit
(c) 1533 Gau 8/25.
Thou sal haif na oder strenge godis

b. Of a country or place: Foreign; situated outside one's own land. c1420 Wynt. vi 1573.
Chefftanys … and maste oure-men Of that straynge natyowne That mad this felle dystructyowne
?14.. Ship Laws c. 1 (H2).
The schip passis out of the land and cummis to Burdeus or to ony vthir strange steid
14.. Acts I 25/2.
Gif schippis of othir strange kynrykis arryfis in the kyngis lande of Scotlande
a1500 Colk. Sow ii 217.
This maid … wes Ȝoung faderles leuit and eik modirles In strenge lond
1492 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 63.
For the haisty expeditioun of justice betwix nychtbour and nychtbour of this burgh and betwix ws and thame of straynge realmes and countreyis
1497 Aberd. B. Rec. I 425.
Of the infirmitey cumm out of Franche and strang partis
1513 Doug. iii viii heading.
Eneas … mony strange wentis hes salyt by
1513 Doug. vii iv 179.
All the spaymen declaris, … Thar suld cum to remane in Italy, Fra strange costis [L. externis ab oris], to be our son in law, A douchty man
1549 Compl. 96/35, etc. c1554 Makeson Genesis 5b.
Isaac passit in to ane strenge cuntre … for to eschew the dertht
a1578 Pitsc. I 274/9.
Mackleine ane gret man of the Yleis … thinkand that he was intill ane strang cuntrie and amang his enimyes handys
1616 Misc. Hist. Soc. II 154.
Leeving lang strangers in ane strange cuntrie

2. Of a person: That does not belong to one's own kin, unrelated. 1460 Hay Alex. 2147.
Sen his are he hes me made and tane … I sall keip [= prevent] him strange aris to ma

3. Unknown, unfamiliar; not met with before. Also const. to.(1) ?1438 Alex. i 724.
Ȝe sould not mak ȝour messinger Of ane pure man that strange [F. povre home estrange] wer
c1475 Wall. iv 273.
The moss was strang, to ryde thaim was no but
a1500 Seven S. 2391.
Ȝone strange knycht I wis He has the lykest ryng to this
c1500 Goudie Shetl. Antiq. 172.
In aventour this present writting be nocht our legiable for the strange leid and termis contenit … ban nocht the hand that wret it for it is als obscoir to the wrettar
1513 Doug. vii ii 45.
As thou art careit till a strange cost [L. ignota ad litora vectum]
1533 Boece 183.
Auld thesauris and hurdis fundin in diuers placis replete of strange money
1533 Boece 75.
With strange delicate chere began to spring strange maladeis vnkend afore
c1536 Lynd. Compl. Bagsche 206.
Than sal ȝour plesour turne in pyne, Quhen ane strange hounter blawis his horne
1538–9 Crim. Trials I i 215.
He haid rather speak fyve words to the vnderstanding and edefeing of his people, then ten thowsand in a strainge tongue whilk they understand not
1549 Compl. 133/31.
Quhen ve happyn to cum in ony straynge companye
1560 Bk. Disc. 244.
Yf any be noted … bringyng in any strange doctrine, he must be admonished by the moderatouris
1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 172.
Force me compellis strange termes to forbeir, Within my box thairs few to get or leir
1563 Ferg. Tracts 7.
That ye … bring not in an strange doctrine and vncouth in the Church of God; aliene and inpertinent … to Gods word
a1585 Maitl. Q. 19/89.
In dreid sum strainge new institutioun Cum and our custome put away
c1590 J. Stewart 226 § 104.
Our craig and cleuch … Ay feiring for to find sum mortall fall So strict and strainge that vay becam
infl. pl. c1545 St. A. Univ. Rec. xxi.
Consideringe the incressinge of hereces and strangis opinionis amangis the commone pepill
(2) c1420 Wynt. viii 634.
Thare namys I can noucht all declere, For thai ar strawnge till yhow till here … Thai are noucht eth till wndyrstand, … Expressyd to be in oure langage
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xiv 9.
So nyce array, so strange to thair abbay, Within this land was nevir hard nor sene
1565 Knox VI 253.
True it is that this weaning (or speaning as we terme it) … is a thing straunge to the flesh

b. Unprecedented. 1582–3 Reg. Privy C. III 541.
The same commissioun [of justiciary] wes … worthelie reduceit … as a power strange and unsufferabill to be in the persoun of ony inferior subject

4. Exceptional, extreme (in degree or intensity). 1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 525.
Efter quhose deith quhat strainge aduersiteis, Quhat gret mysreule, in to this regioun rang

5. Unusual, abnormal, peculiar; difficult to understand or account for.(a) a1500 Rauf C. 147.
The king profferit him to gang, and maid ane strange fair
a1500 Colk. Sow i 437.
This is bot a fantesy And littill poynt of poetry … And ȝit this is a strange cais
1513 Doug. iii ix 5.
Than suddanly … We se a strange man of form onknaw
1531 Bell. Boece I xlii.
Becaus the procreation and nature of salmond is … strange, we have inserit the maner thairof in this buke
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 6101.
Quhose jugementis ar vncersiabyll And strange wayis inuestigabyll
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 121/24.
‘Flesche and bluid sal nocht possesse the kyngdome of heawine’. Thir vordis apperis strange, considderrynge [etc.]
1570 Sat. P. xxi 96.
Thir haistie heitis sa sall ȝe slokin, Thocht it seme neuer sa strange
1558-66 Knox II 378.
Ye can never be excuissed befoir God of this freammed and strange intreatment of your wyff
1587-99 Hume 21/129.
He knawes the strange instinctions all … Of fishes and of flichtring fouls
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 413.
Heir is ane stranger battel nor ever was fouchtin
1600-1610 Melvill 487.
Being in Falkland I saw a funambulus, a Frenchman, play strang and incredible prattiks upon stented takell in the palace-clos
1650 Dunlop P. II 95.
Schoe took a strang and uncow disease
1698 S. Ronaldshay 70.
Mr. Alexr. thinks it strange he should be lybelled upon this head; it had been more fit he had lybelled his parishioners
(b) 1638 Johnston Diary (1911) I 332.
(c) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxvi 86.
Thay wer full strenge of countenance, Lyk turkas birnand reid
1560 Cal. Sc. P. I 292.
[Our friends may think it] strenge & uncoutht [that the French are] sa lang onfouchin [with]
1615 Highland P. III 224.
(d) 1569 Sc. Hist. Rev. I 40.
Is no this a strawnge case that they wil not suffer that gwdeman to live amangst ws?
1590–1 Crim. Trials I ii 222.
Hee was commaunded to have a most straunge torment … His nailes upon all his fingers were riven and pulled off

6. Unfriendly, cold, distant. Also, to keep strange, to behave in a cold or distant manner.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxix 32.
My freind, cum neir, And be nocht strange, I thé requeir
a1561 Norvell Meroure 13b.
If ye in tymes past, were strange and nyce
a1568 Scott xxi 18.
I fand hir of ane staffage kynd, Bath staitly, strange, and he
a1568 Bann. MS 256a/15.
Be scho strange & vnkynd I gif hir to fary
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I 544.
Diuers noblemen writt to hir, requiring to knaw the trewth of hir strange and irreverent handilling
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 329/1.
Thocht that this warld be verie strange And thevis hes done my rowmes range And teymd my fald
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 133.
I was the caus of his maladie becaus of the regrait that he had that I was sa strange unto him
a1585 Maitl. Q. 107/106.
O gif luif causis strainge inamitie
a1585 Arbuthnot in Maitl. Q. 121/88.
Ather man I vse scurrilitie Or ellis sic strainge and vncouth fremmidnes
a1585 Maitl. Q. 253/1.
Ane new fairweill a strainge gudnicht Of thé periurd and ladye fals
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 38/6.
In youre prayer be nather ouir strainge uith God … nor yett ouir hamelie uith him
15… Crawford Mun. Invent. II 58.
I heir that our cousing is sumthing strange and heycht
(2) 1668-9 Fraser Lawfulness Separ. 132.
Friends keep strange among others; but, when they are alone, they unbosom themselves to one another

7. Unfamiliar with, unaccustomed to (something). c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 102.
And though I was vnto ȝour lawis strange, By ignorance, and noght by felonye

8. To make (it) strange, to make difficulties, refuse cooperation. a1570-86 Balnaves in Maitl. F. 359/95.
Suppois thow raynge ouir all the grange … Still will scho maynge and mak it straynge And giff the syne anewch

9. comb. With -like, as quasi-adv.: = 5 above. a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 490.
And may make us all reverence His way, although it look strange-like unto flesh

B. adv. To think strange of (something), to think (something) strange. ?1660–90 J. Walwood in P. Gillespie Rulers Sins (1718) 13.
Religion is an uncouth business; truly when I have heard of the seriousness of several folks I thought strange of it

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"Strang adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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