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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Contrar(e, Contrair, n. Also: contraire; contirar(e. [ME. contrare, contrair (14th c., but rare), f. Contrar(e,a.]

1. The contrary or opposite. Also without the.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxiii. 485.
Quha the contrar wald defend, To bryne in fyre he bad be send
1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
The burges of the burgh of Dunde sayand the contrare
c1420 Ratis R. 378.
Ȝit wmquhill Godis private Wirkis the contrar
Ib. 930.
Contrar hapnis oft to fall
a 1470 Liber Aberbr. 107.
His consciens arguit hym the contrare
a1500 Seven S. 1104.
Contrare suld be helit with contrare
1517 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 171.
Quha sa dois the contrar heirof, the deykin … to pvneis that as effeiris
1556 Lauder Off. Kings 236.
Wo be to thame that dois knaw Godds wourd, syne dois the contrar schaw
1567 Sat. P. vi. 63.
The clene contrare sall cum to pas but dout
c1590 J. Stewart 61/146.
I cognosce be pruif the contrare plaine
1587-99 Hume 83/111.
Least thou … harden thy heart be doing the contrare
1667 Highland P. II. 16.
He heard the contrare quhen he came out
1689 Leven & Melv. P. 173.
Some of them doing the conterar
(b) 1456 Hay I. 86/11.
Arestotle … haldis the contrair of this
Ib. 144/27.
The contrair war a thing impossible
Ib. II. 111/12.
Of all the thingis of nature … and of all thaire contrairis
1533 Gau 40/31.
Oders quhilk sais the contrair
1558-66 Knox II. 445.
The contrair whairof I affirm
1567 Reg. Privy C. I. 521.
Quhatsoevir the fader and freindis … desyrit, the contrair wes alwayis done
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxxviii. 36.
Althocht the contrair all the cuntrie knawis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 31/36.
Aganis the hairtis of all thame that vald the contrair
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 144.
Let doctors & learned men cry the contrair, I am perswaded this is the way
1671 True Nonconf. 7.
To obey God … rather then man commanding the contraire
1685 Decis. Lords F. 67.
That not being proven by the depositions of the witnesses, but the contrair

b. Be (the) contrare, on the contrary.Also in later use on or to the contrare. 1531 Bell. Boece I. 43.
The Goddis sall be propiciant to us … ; be contrar, thay sall be repugnant to our ennimes
1530 Lynd. Test. Pap. 337.
Be the contrar, thov arte bot kyng of bone
1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 141.
Be the contrar, thay … confessis the evangell to be the trew word of God
a1578 Pitsc. I. 19/8.
Be the contraire to ws we haue gret honnour
1587-99 Hume Tr. Consc. iii. 33.
Be the contrair, that the deed … is euil
1622-6 Bisset I. 34/30.
Be contrare, he loved … thame, … quhen he fand thame virtuous
1640-1 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 140.
He never concurred in nothing that concernes the publict, bot be the contrair doeth controll the parochinares proceidings
1689 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII. 521.
He not appearing to answear … the said complaint, but on the contirar hes caried away the said Alexander McDonald
Ib. 559.
On the contirare

2. In (the) contrar of, in opposition to; in violation of. Also with to.(a) 1405 James of Douglas Letter to Henry IV in Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 59.
Ȝhe say that Berwike … was brende be my men be my will … & in the contrar of myn athe
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2319.
He was certefyede That folk his kynryk occupyede Incontrare of his wyffis will
1466 Acta Aud. 4/1.
That thai ces of all … molestacion of him … in contrar & brekin of his saide priuilege
c1475 Wall. xi. 1348.
Hys warldly lyff desyrd thi sustenance, Thocht he it gat in contrar off plesance
1508 Edinb. Chart. 191.
That nane of you tak apon hand to … do ony thingis in contrar hereof
1663 Decis. Lords G. 46.
In this case where an oath is interposed not to come in the contrar of the bond
(b) 1456 Hay I. 47/21.
Quhen the peple of Tharent … put thame in the contrair of Rome
Ib. II. 27/6.
That he may … honour his ordre, … in the contrair of foly and ignoraunce
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1065.
This hound of hell Deuorit hes my lamb … in contrair to your cry
1555 Glenartney MS. Doc.
With certificatioun to quhatsumeuir persoun doand in contrair thairof, that thai salbe callit and accusit
1641 Neal Hist. Puritans II. 483.
His Majesty … promises … never to come in the contrair of this statute and sanction

b. In contrare, in opposition to, contrary to, against. 1474 Reg. Morton II. 223.
Gyf euer it sal happin me … to … cum in contrar thir appoyntmentis
1477 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 35.
Chargeing … our legis … nocht to cum in ony wise incontrair the samyn [statutis]
c1475 Wall. i. 71.
In contrar rycht, a king he maid hym thar
1492 Acta Conc. 254/2.
His faider … maryit him apoun his sister dochter incontrare his band
1516 Reg. Privy S. I. 431/1.
Sending of the kingis gold … furth of the realme, incontrare the actis of parliament
1526 Reg. Privy S. I. 530/2.
His … cumming in contrar our auctorite and majeste and in contrar our baner in the feild
c1550 Rolland C. Venus i. 269.
In contrair quhome, of quhat stait or degre They may be found, I byid heir at constance
c1590 Fowler I. 70/104.
Cæsar … Wes neuer … bouldar on his foes Than was my dame in contrare him

c. In my (our, his, etc.) contrare, in opposition to, against (me, us, etc.).(a) 1501 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 91.
Thai promittit … nocht to be in his contrare in sic cais
1539 Crim. Trials I. 221.
Gif thai … hes gevin thame partial counsale in my contrare
1547 Corr. M. Lorraine 190.
I am informyt that thair is ane Spanyert send in Flanderis to bring Flemyngis in our contrar
1562-3 Winȝet I. 53/23.
Be Witsonday thai change thair standart in our plane contrare
1581 Cath. Tr. 76/8.
Exponing the scripturis brocht in his contrare … efter his auin naturall iugement
(b) 1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 40.
To wesy the place and be prowydyt to that benefice thame selfis in my contrair
a1578 Pitsc. II. 235/34.
Thai … tuik sindrie gentilmen that war in thair contrair … and convoyit thame away
1596 Dalr. I. 195/2.
Thay … ar able to susteine quhat ony ennimie may do in thair contrair
1616 Sutherland Corr. 122.
Duffus hopis to maik the archebischoip … in your contrair
1650 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. iii.
They … wold not oppose them, nor be in thair contrair, but assist them in obteining the samen

3. In the contrare, to the contrary; to the opposite effect; in opposition to, or violation of, what is prescribed or intended.(a) 1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22.
Nocht agaynstandand ony priuilege alleggit … in the contrare
1424 Wemyss Chart. 48.
Nathing to be proponyt in the contrare agaynstandande
1456 Hay I. 262/4.
Bot all goddis and mannis lawis ar in the contrar
1485 Acta Conc. *117/2.
Na thing [being] schewin attentikly be the said erle in the contrare
1490 Irland Mir. I. 71/28.
As to the tothir part, I argw in the contrare [etc.]
1512 Reg. Privy S. I. 364/1.
A ȝerelie pensioun … to be paid to him … enduring the kingis will and quhill he gif command in the contrare
1533 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 62.
Gif ony dois in the contrar he sall pay ane pund candill of walx
1574 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 434.
The saidis defenderis … callit and nocht compeirand, … [and] na exceptioun nor obiectioun maid in the contrar
1591 Elgin Rec. II. 18.
William Morray and Johnne Varden … deponit and maid thair ayths in the contrar
1622-6 Bisset I. 216/17.
Albeit ane greit numer of witnese alleges … in the contrare, the lordis decernis the wreit to be trew
1665 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 221.
In respect of his Majesties proclamatione in the contrar
1668 Ib. 247.
The provest … protestit in the contrar
(b) 1456 Hay I. 242/1.
All is now pervertit in the contrair
Ib. 264/26.
For the lawis canoun ar all in the contrair
1493 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 213.
To obserf and keype the samyn [lands] bot ony … impediment to be mayd in the contrair
1558-66 Knox II. 371.
Thai had letteris past in the contrair, with certificatioun of death to the contraveanar
a1578 Pitsc. I. 88/15.
He was … hangit schamefullie … nochtwithstanding the king commandit in the contrair
1583 Conv. Burghs I. 183.
Henry Charteris, commissioner … , protested in the contrair
1628 St. A. Baxter Bks. 90.
Quhasoevir does in the contrair … sall pay xl s.
1664 Fraser P. 158.
Thair compeared no man to appon in the contrair

4. Provocation; opposition, resistance. c1475 Wall. vi. 115.
The Inglismen … Has founde the way … How that thai suld mak contrar to Wallace Be argument
1513 Doug. viii. ii. 50.
The streme bakwartis vpflowys … So that the ayris mycht fyndyn na contrar

5. A contrary wind. a1570-86 Shaw Maitl. F. cxlvi. 13.
Thair may cum bubbis ȝe not suspek; Thair may cum contrairis ȝe not knaw

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"Contrar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Mar 2023 <>



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