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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XI).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Untrew(e, -true, adj. (adv.). Also: wntrew, -trowe, ontrew, onetrew, -true. [ME and e.m.E. untrewe (c1220), untru(e (both 1444), OE untréowe; Trew(e adj. (adv.).]

A. adj. 1. Faithless, disloyal. 1456 Hay II 24/7.
A false knycht that is untrewe, that dois nocht the bidding of his prince and is contrarius till his biddingis
a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 571.
Als vnconstant,and als vntrew of fay
1494 Loutfut MS 111a.
I ȝour liegis man … presentis me here … to preif apon ȝon fals & wntrew man tresonable deidis
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 333.
Peter said: ‘Lord, thoucht thai be all vntrew, Ȝit [etc.]'
a1568 Scott xxvii 44.
Be scho vntrew, Fair weill adew
c1575 Annandale Corr. 273.
Trast brekearis and wntrowe men

2. Dishonest, deceitful, untrustworthy. 1424 Acts II 8/1.
Sua that the kingis liegis be nocht defraudyt … as thai haue ben in tym bygane thro vntrew men of craftis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 257 (M).
Gif ȝe nocht list befoir be foirleit with losingeris vntrew
1535 Stewart 27281.
The fals Saxonis wntrew Schir Modred that na disceptioun knew … In rayit battell set him round about
1574 Reg. Privy C. II 361.
Upoun his untrew pretendit culloure of mariage allegeit solempnizat with the said Beatrix

3. a. Of a fact, etc.: Incorrect, erroneous. b. Of a person: Untruthful, lying. c. Of a thing: That does not conform to a standard, incorrect.a. 1456 Hay I 8/29.
Be the frost is signifyit the hard hertis and untrewe treuth of the pagans
1565 State P. (Reg. H.) 71.
That the trewth and simple veritie of the said vntrew brute may be tryit
(b) a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 139/5.
To be refusit and repellit as one true and ongodlye doctrine
b. 1583 Crail B. Ct. 23 April.
He is ane commone sklanderar visious and ewill spekar one trew of sindrie persones and is nocht in his rycht wite
c. 1683 Dundee B. Laws 554.
John Duncan … a persone most ignorant and vnseen in the said … calling … most impudentlie professes and exercises the said litster trade, by litting and dying cloath … with false and vntrew cullors

4. Unjust; wicked. 1596 Dalr. I 199/8.
To beseik … the succour and supplie baith of God and man against the Romane vntrue tyrannie
1622-6 Bisset I 17/19.
Oppressioun and crowall deidis untrew Into this land incressand

B. adv. Improperly; inadequately. 1513 Doug. xii xii 111.
This ontrew [Ruddim. vntrew] temperit blaid and fykkill brand … In flendris flaw

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"Untrew adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2023 <>



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