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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Contrar(e, Contrair, a. Also: contraire, conterear. [ME. contrare, contraire (14–15th c., but rare), OF. contraire, L. contrārius.]

1. Of wind, etc.: Blowing or coming against one; adverse, unfavourable. 1375 Barb. xviii. 265.
Thair schippes … Had the vynd contrar till thame ay
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 116.
Thoth we come in-to this sted … Thrucht contrare wynd & wedderis wod
Ib. 206.
Be contrare wedder
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2497.
All the weddrys in thair fayre Wes to thare purpos all contrayre
1513 Doug. v. i. 35.
The wynd is contrar, brayand in our bak saill
Ib. x. vi. 154.
The contrar wyndys
1531 Bell. Boece I. 237.
Thair ennimes micht nocht hald up thair ein for reflixioun of contrar beimis in thair sicht
1533 Boece iv. xv. 150 b.
Quhen Romanys knew Pichtland firth … mycht nocht weill be salit becaus of the contrare tydis
15.. Clar. iii. 284.
Keiping the wind from everie contrair airt
1596 Dalr. I. 28/15.
Gif a dangerous hill … war nocht cummirsum and contrare to it
1611-57 Mure Dido i. 269.
A contrare blast Doth force his saile against the trembling mast

2. Of persons: Opposed, offering opposition, antagonistic. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 621.
Machore … is contrare til ws ay
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1046.
The Erle off Angew … Till this Stevyn was contrare ay
Ib. 2673.
Fra theyne … Thai suld newyr be contrare To the kynryk off Ingland
1456 Hay I. 250/22.
We mon sum thing allege for the contrair party
Ib. 254/20.
Thare is ane othir argument that the party contrair thinkis mare stark
1491 Acta Conc. 201/2.
Clamit be the said Patrik … throw the said James being contrare our souerane … at the felde of Striuiling
1513 Doug. i. i. 30.
This Goddes ettillit, gif werdis war nocht contrar [etc.]
1563 Glasgow Prot. I. Pref. 18.
Certane wthiris instrumentis … maid betuex divers parteis conterearis, and producit in jugement
1570 Waus Corr. I. 66.
Seing the lordis of the contrar factioun are to conwene schortlie
1596 Dalr. I. 248/18.
Sik … hatred was seine against thame quha war contrare
1629 Rutherford Lett. (1862) I. 50.
I fear the Lord be my contrair party
1649 Lanark B. Rec. 142.
To consider … how oft he hes bein minassed for bein contrair to the late unlaufull ingadgment

3. Opposite in nature or tendency; completely different or contrasted. 1375 Barb. i. 241.
Thus contrar thingis euir-mar Discoweryngis off the tothir ar
1456 Hay I. 128/32.
Oure lawis haldis the opynioun contraire
c1420 Ratis R. 238.
Gif thai spend that in foly, The contrare falt commonly
1461 Liber Plusc. 399.
Within schort tym thou changis thine entent, Sendand a contrar lettir incontinent
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlvii. 16.
Thair kyndnes is so contrair clene
1531 Bell. Boece I. p. viii.
Thoucht thay be richt far Fra othir severit, with qualiteis contrar
1560 Rolland Seven S. 769.
To tak iornay gif it was prosperous, Or contrair way gif it was dangerous
1580 Cath. Tr. 62/23.
The expresse wourdis of the Evangell in the contrare sentence
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 151.
The Caluinian ministers, to maintein thair contraire heresies, affirmand [etc.]
1623 Melrose P. 538.
I am sorie to heare that maters went crosse … by occasion of there contrare opinions
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. i. 54.
Having, for love of worldly pelf, First taken contrair oaths theinself

b. Contrary or opposite to, at variance with. c1420 Wynt. viii. 5912.
Thai trowyd that war Sum-thyng to the lauch contrare
1456 Hay I. 250/10.
Glotony … makis him bestly, quhilk is contrair to bataill
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2635.
Ȝe wait alswa that ȝour accusatioun … contrair is to ressoun
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlvi. 69 (B).
For ay to lufe invy mone contrair be
1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 164.
Is not Luther … direct contrar in opinioun towart the interpretatioun [etc.]
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 25.
As thair doingis contrair to thair word testifiis manifestlie
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tract. 53 b.
To say that … is ane gret absurditie, contrare to ressone
1626 Garden Worthies 19.
Counsalls contraire to the Common-weall
1646 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 71.
Considering the samen [supplication] to be farr contrair to the meaning of the sessione
1678 Mackenzie Laws & C. i. xii. § 6.
Self-defence there is not contrair to any quality of the libel

c. Having an opposite aim or effect. 1612 Breadalbane Lett. (Reg. H.) 18 Nov.
Our contrair procuratourie maid ane eik to thair suspension
1683 Decis. Lords F. 32.
There is also a contrair declarator pursued at Mr. Francis his instance

4. Opposite in place. a1586 Lindsay MS. 38 b.
Endosse is maid of best and of fische … quhen thai ar put the bakkis contrair to the vthir
1598 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 669.
For tuelf garroun naillis to the contrair skaffald of the kirk dur

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"Contrar adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2024 <>



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