Show Search Results Show Browse

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

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations & symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).

Wrang, Wrong, n. Also: wrange, vrang, urang, wrangk, wraing, wrayng, wronge, uronge, worong, wroung. [ME and e.m.E. wrange (a1200), wrong (c1200); Wrang adj.]

1. That which is morally evil, unjust or harmful, wickedness, injustice, harm. Also proverb. b. In contradistinction to richt, see Richt n. 2 for further examples.(a) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2694.
‘Ha’ quod the volff ‘thou wald intruse ressoun Quhair wrang and reif suld duell in propertie’
a1500 Prestis of Peblis 141 (Ch.).
Welcum, my beidmen, … that ȝe think richt or ȝit ressoun To that can I … haue chessoun And that ȝe think vnressoun or wrang, Wee al and sundrie sings the samin sang
a1508 Want of Wyse Men 49 (Bann.) (see War(r)and n. 4 a (1) (c)). a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 427/8.
For lack of iustice sum gettis vrang
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 447/79.
I pray to God … Falsed and wrange be now banist for ay
(b) 1681 Stair Inst. iv i § 47.
The strongest objection … is that wrong can have no warrant and that it is against moral honesty to adhere to that which might be convinced to be materially unjust
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 865.
Wrang hes nea warrand
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II 108 (see War(r)and n. 4 proverb.).b. 1375 Barb. i 177.
Degradyt syne wes he Off honour … Quhether it wes throuch wrang or rycht God wat it
1456 Hay I 132/1.
The lawis sais that men may mak were to kepe thar awin rycht, bot nocht to manetene wrang
1535 Stewart 45035.
In Rome … Baith richt and wrang wes all tyme for to sell
a1578 Pitsc. I 65/16.
They put no difference betuix wrang and right

2. Wrong behaviour, evil or unjust action, harm or injury done to another, passing into sense 3. b. transf. Applied to language: Incorrectness, error.(a) 1456 Hay II 15/22.
To … kepe … the labouraris, and sauf thame fra fors and wrang
c1460 Thewis Wysmen 246.
Wysmen with pwre … fair and gudly … spekis, Kepis fra wrang and harmys vrekis
c1475 Wall. vi 224.
Quhar men may weipe thar curage is the les … It slakis ire off wrang thai suld radres
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 173/15 (A).
[A noble man] dois to euery man … richt without malice, wrange, or iniure
1513 Doug. vi xiv 25.
Brutus … can revenge the wrang in hys cuntre
c1520-c1535 Nisbet John xviii 23 marg.
Christ heir, in repreifing wrange, did nocht resist it with wyolence
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 131.
Ȝour vitious lyfe and … the abusyng of ȝour offyce [etc.] … And ȝour fals glosing of the wrang Sall nocht mak ȝow to rax heir lang
1567 G. Ball. 101.
Thair is na ȝock thir wickit men may oppres … Thair violence and wrang walkis full wyde
1567 G. Ball. 119.
Reward thy fais, according to thair wrang. Seuinfald thair sin, gude Lord, mot punist be
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 305/21.
The pure commounis … Fra wrang can not debait thame sell
1587-99 Hume 35/43.
The hiest iudge He will reuenge thy wrang
1625 Garden Kings 3.
Thou cherish'd vertue, and thou chasteisd wrang
(b) c1600 Poem (verso T. Pont) 12.
Vpricht I liue, No wrong I tak, nor ȝet I giue
1647 Cochran-Patrick Coinage II 130.
That … Johne Robbe … without ony wronge or offence offered to him … did straike the said compleaner
1649 Fugitive Poetry II xxiii 1/18.
And wroung with force maintain'd
b. c1616 Hume Orthog. 2.
Seeing sik uncertentie in our men's wryting … if it wald please the supreme majestie to command … the schooles to teach the future age right and wrang

3. Wrong behaviour or action in terms of the law; action involving a crime or misdemeanour.(a) 14.. Acts I 25/2.
Alkyn manere of querelle ony of thaim will pleynȝe of othir the quhilk wrang was amuffyt betuen thaim [Adv. MS 25. 4. 15 c. xviii, & gif ane of tha … will plenȝe on ane other of wrang muffyt be twen thaim] in the lande of … Scotlande
14.. Acts I 40/2 (see b below). a1500 Henr. Fab. 2680.
Thair suld na man for wrang nor violence His aduersar punis at his awin hand Without proces off law
1535 Stewart 456.
To stanche thift and weir and wrang gare seis, And put doun pley that men mycht leue in eis
1554 Grant Chart. 114.
Caus hir be obeyt and kepit fra appin wrang or iniwris
1557 Ayr Chart. 44.
To … decerne upone the wrang and distribulance of the burgh
1561 Edinb. B. Rec. III 112.
Quhilkis dekynnis … declarit the samyn to be expres wrang and inobedience deseruing extreme pvnischment
1578 Anal. Scot. I 269.
James the saxt … qua ryngis nowe aboyf us … to do justice in punissing of wrayng
a1585 Maitland in Maitl. Q. 28/28.
Cheis faythfull men … Quha will for wrang mak dew correctioun And doe iustice
(b) 1656 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. III 64.
That no shirreffs officiar conceall any … wrong bot speedilie reveall the same

b. Wrang and unlaw (Unlaw n.), wrongdoing of a relatively minor sort, not involving a capital penalty, see note below; the right to prosecute such wrongdoing.See also Bisset III 29-30, 56 and Aberd. B. Rec. (SHS) cxv, cxvi for further information.‘Although the distinction between civil and criminal actions is comparatively modern, ‘wrang and unlaw’ … appear to be alike and to be the terms used for a civil action as opposed to the ‘life and limb’ … of a criminal action.' Aberd. B. Rec. (SHS) cxxxiii n.1(1) 1317 Aberd. B. Rec. (SHS) 10.
Dicta Beatrix ipsum … defamauerat et verberauerat cum wrang et unlaw
1317 Aberd. B. Rec. in Misc. Spald. C. V 8.
Philippus dictum equum iniuste detinuit et modo violento arestauit Estimando wrang et unlaw et ponendo ad dampna sua xl s.
14.. Acts I 111/2.
Of wrang and unlaw [L. de defensione torte et unreson] … that na defens sal be enchesonit … als lang as the defendour … defendis torte & na reson quhilk is callyt wrang & unlaw and the scathis in certane the quhilk ar nemmyt be the plenȝeand
14.. Quon. Attach. c. 1.
Her begynnis the chapteris of Quoniam atachiamenta for quhi sen attachmentis ar the begynnyng of mutis of wrang & vnlaw & of thaim that ar folowyt be a borgh sacre [etc.]
14.. Reg. Maj. c. 2.
Alsua mut of det may be mot & folowyt befor the scheref witht other of wrang & unlaw that nedis nocht to be rehersyt in this buk
14.. Acts I 26/2.
That in borow mutis thar is … oysyt thuertnay in defendande wrang and unlawe [Acts I 26/1, in defensionibus defendendo wrang and unlawe]
14.. Acts I 40/2.
Of a man grantand his awne wrang [L. iniuriam] Gif ony man challangis ane othir that he hafe dongyn hym or othir harmys till hym done and he put till his scathe ic markis … and he at is challangyt in his ansuering nyte the wrang and unlauch
14.. Acts I 347/2.
Knychtis that haldis of barouns sall tak of thame all lawis and obserue thame in ther courtis … as barouns dois bot thai hald na court of lyfe and lym bot of iniur and vnreson that is to say urang and vnlaw
1455 Acts II 43/1.
At thar be viij or xij personis … sall decret all materis of wrang and vnlawe within the burghe to the auale of v li.
c1575 Balfour Pract. 290.
In all pleyis and contraversies of wrang and unlauch quhair ony partie findis him hurt and greivit be ane uther partie [etc.]
(2) c1272 Reg. Paisley 52.
Cum omnibus liberatibus … de wot, de wrang, et hunlaue

c. Wrang and unreson, (Unreso(u)n n.), = b above. 14.. Acts I 72/2.
Gif ony man plenȝeis hym of ane othir man of ony querel of wrang and unreson

4. In various phrases in senses 2 or 3 above. a. To do (wirk) wrang, to do harm, injury or damage (to someone or something (also const. indirect obj.)) or (in some fashion). Also to do oneself wrong, specif. of a woman, to procure an abortion.(1) c1490 Irland Asl. MS 35/7.
God … can nor may do wrange
a1578 Pitsc. II 319/30.
The puire commonis said thair vas nevir mair vrang done within this realme
1622-6 Bisset I 119/11.
Ony man that will murmoure thame … be doing of wrang and inhonestie
(2) a1400 Leg. S. vi 666.
The wrange that to myn god is done
c1420 Bute MS 141a.
[They] done to the forsaid … molest wrang and grefe
1456 Hay II 21/22.
Forthy dois a king … grete wrang to the order of knychthede quhen he makis othir sereffis, baillies, or provostis of othir lawlyar men na knychtis
1460 Hay Alex. 2267.
Lord thow dois ws wrang Ane messinger suld nother be hed nor hang
1567 G. Ball. 45.
Pray for all men … Suppose thay wirk vs richt or wrang
1607 Dunferm. B. Rec. II 38.
Quhatsumevir wrang happenis to be done … to the ruiff … be … evill inclinit personnis
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 55.
The pley sould not be advocat fra the inferiour court, except it be proven that wrang was done in it to the persewer
(b) 1612 Maxwell Mem. II 57.
If thai inform that I ly back vpon humiliatioun, thai do me wronge
a1650 Row 324.
What wrong any man had done to them, whereby [etc.]
1626 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II (27 Dec.).
Being accusit as to haue done wrong to hir selff, in cawsing hir selff pairt withe bairne
(3) 1480 Acta Conc. I 53/1.
The said … bailȝe deput has done wrang in the ministracion of his office
c1490 Porteous Noblenes 176/10 (A).
Euery noble creatur suld eschew to do wrang, scaith, or iniure in his furth beryng
1519 Fife Sheriff Ct. 156.
The saidis personis had done wrang in the occupatione & lauboring of the said landis
1522 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 66.
Adam Bowmaker was … arestit … for wrang doun in bargannyng upone the mercat daye contrar the privilegis of the towne
1587 St. A. Kirk S. 591.
James Miller … confessit that he is … persuadit that he hes done wrang in maring Elizabeth Bruce his first wyffis sister dochter
(4) 1567 Sat. P. v 45.
Ȝe had done wrang … Hir to withald agane hir will
1573 Sempill in Sat. P. xxxix 171.
With wemenis will ȝe do thame lytill wrang; To iaip thame sa, I think it na iniuir

b. To get (sustene, etc.) (the) wrang, to suffer injury or harm. Also to havewrong to oneself, ? to have attempted to procure an abortion, cf. a above.(a) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Acts vii 24.
He … did vengeance for him that suffrit the wrang
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 39/61.
Quhen ane of thame sustenis wrang We cry for justice
1579 Atholl Mun. I No. 90.
George Boiswell … mediciner … declaris that the Erll of Athoill nather gat wrang nor deit naturallie, and that it wes poyson cum be the mouth
1605 Edinb. Test. XL 305b.
That thai get na wrang of na persone
1613 Highland P. III 130.
That he gat wrange in that act of counsell allowing vnto him xmlib. in satisfaction of [etc.]
(b) 1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. iv 368.
Quae me ad maiora reservo, quhat gryter wrong sall I byde
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 96/10.
Ye man not onlie be cairfull to keipe youre subiectis from receauing any uronge of otheris uithin, but also [etc.]
1650 Brechin Presb. 44.
The other [sc. cow] dwynd and died, and he suspected that he had gotten wrong
1661 Black Sc. Witches 41.
If that the … horse had gottin wrong by witch craft
1626 Fraserburgh Kirk S. II (27 Dec.).
That sche as ane sicke woman hade pairtit with bairne, and hade no wrong to hir selff to thair knawlege

c. To have (the) wrang, be in (the) wrang, to be in the wrong. Cf. 5 b below.(1) 1375 Barb. xii 297 (C).
For thouch our fais haue mekill mycht, Thai haf the vrang and succudry
1375 Barb. xvi 236 (C).
The king said, ‘thou has vrang, perfay’
a1500 K. Hart 195.
Wantones suppois he had the wrang [etc.]
1494 Loutfut MS 5b.
The counstable suld gif the sentence & jugement apon him that has the wrang
(2) c1475 Wall. i 398.
Thow art in the wrang
1510–11 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II 390.
The quhilk inquest … fand the said Alane in the wrang
1522–3 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 67.
Wolle Turnbyll was in the wrang to have bostit the balye
1567 Peebles B. Rec. I 304.
The haill inquest findis Thomas Dikisoun in the wraing for giffin Rolland Scot … ingurius wordis
1574 Glasgow Cordiners 58.
John Gilmour … is fund in the wrang, and amerchiament of court in brekyng of the statutes maid anentis the pete bog
1596 Dalr. I 121/22.
Sche wil be in wrang to her housband, gif that he knaweng, sche offend

d. With wrang, unjustly. 1375 Barb. i 209.
With rycht or wrang it have wald thai
a1400 Leg. S. xxii 682.
Thane restoryt he ilkane, That with wrang he had tane

e. Of wrang, wrongly, by way of wrongdoing.1439–40 Ayr B. Ct. 18 Jan. (see *Helter n.2).

5. An act of wrongdoing in senses 2 or 3 above, an offence or injury. Also pl. b. In to ane vrang, in a wrong, = 4 c (2) above.sing. 1456–70 Liber Aberbr. II 108.
We menyt ws of that vrang to owr bailye
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 90.
That sege wald sit with none wrang Of berne that wes borne
c1475 Wall. i 161.
Mony gret wrang thai wrocht in this regioune
1513 Doug. i i 75.
Sen Pallas mocht on Grekis tak sik wraik … for Aiax Oilus wrang? [note This offence was [etc.]]
1537–8 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 152.
The allegit wrang in the hoking of the landis of the said David
1568 Inverness Rec. I 164.
The jugis hes … ordanit [the said William] to be brydelit for the wrang
a1570-86 Maitland in Maitl. F. 306/56.
I ken nane now … To do ane wrang that will forbeir
1588 James VI in 3rd Rep. Hist. MSS 419/2.
A puir man that dar nocht seik redres of this wrang be the ordinar course of iustice
(b) 1528 Douglas Corr. 135.
To take pyne, travell, and besynes on ȝour persone to dres … this manifest wraing done to me
pl. 1400 Facs. Nat. MSS II liii (see Wrang v. 1 a p.p.). 1424 Lanark & R. 283.
The quhilks bailȝeis … sal … reform wrangs and plants done agayn thair fredomis
c1439 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV 190.
The sayde lorde erle … sale refowrme … of al wnkendnes wrangkis [etc.] … don be thame to the sayde lorde of Forbes
1450 Reg. Episc. Brechin. I 127.
The said Johne … til amend the skaithis and the wrangis done to thaim
1495 Acta Conc. I 420/2.
Causing of all the saidis personis … to do & commit the saidis wrangis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 14/70.
Small merit is of synnes for to irke Quhen thou art ald, and ma na wrangis wyrke
1531 Reg. Morton II 260.
Considering the … wrangis … to halykirk in … dounputting of the … teyndis therof
1538 Soc. Ant. II 391.
Injurys and wrangis done to thaim in the execution of thair office
1542–3 Linlithgow B. Ct. 24 Jan.
The … ballies referit all the forsaid wranges to the sensment of ane assys
c1560 Perth Convener Ct. Bk. No. 23.
The saidis craftismen to ceis fra sic wrangis
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 49.
Wrangis done to thame be the kingis rebellis
1575 Orkney Oppress. 3.
Manifest tyranny, wrangis and oppression
1596 Dalr. II 302/2.
Quha war woundet or had gottin vtheris wrangis, quhairof tha grew seik
(b) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 943 (C).
The which wronges they had so lonng Suffred
1640 Anal. Scot. I 389.
Entreatting your majestie wold … provyde for the repairing of our wrongis and lois
1656 Dumbarton B. Rec. 70.
Receavers of malisses or wronges be Johne McWilliam, warlok
1664 Pitcairn Spiritual Sacrifice 52.
Who hath made a mends for all the wrongs thou hast done?
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. I 65.
Ther reparation of ther worongs could be no otherwayes repaird for the tyme past, nor preveened for the tyme to come
b. 1534 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 145.
Ve ordand Nychoill to sweir quhat skaytht he had throu tynsaill of hir service, and ve put hir in to ane vrang
(b) 1599 Dysart Rec. 26.
Finds … Peter Balvaird in a wrong for [etc.]

6. Hurt, without any sense of blame or wrongdoing. Only in Nisbet after Purvey. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Acts xxvii 10.
That sailing beginnis to be with wrang [W., P. wrong, AV hurt; L. injuria] and mekile harme

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Wrang n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse DOST: