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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).
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Sting, Stang, n. Also: styng, steng(g, steing(e, steyng, steinȝie. [ME stenges(dint) (north., 1153-95), sting (south-west., 1235-52), stang(e, stong, steng (all Cursor M.), north. e.m.E. styng (1571), OE steng, ON stang-, genitive stem of stǫng.]

1. A wooden pole, stake, stave, bar or beam. Also transf.See also Girthsting n. and Sasteing n.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) vi 100.
Our avne gying, Et duos rusticos de rure Berand a barell on a styng
1533 Boece 362.
The victouris apoun ane sting bure the kingis hede
1541 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 290.
For … xl gird stingis for hek roungis
1562 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 648/1.
[The] nedder kitching onder the hall … ane sae and ane sting
1564 Inverness Rec. I 118.
Fyf scoyr fyf stingis for barrellis
1566–7 Inverness Rec. I 146.
Four greit fatt stingis and ane boddum thairto
1596 Dalr. I 94/34.
Thay take the hail meklewame of ane slane ox, thay turne and dicht it, thay fill it partlie with watir partlie with flesche, thay hing it in the cruik or a sting, eftir the maner of a pott, and sa thay kuik it verie commodiouslie vpon the fyre
1598 Conv. Burghs II 34. 1606 Reg. Privy S. VII 660.
Small boittis arryvand within the said river [sc. the Clyde], comeing frome England or Ireland with grite stingis, victuall, or uther small commoditeis
1617 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 83.
For iiiic grith stingis to be ringis to the heckis
1628–9 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 260.
For tuelf stingis to be stepis to the ledderis xvi s.
1636 Musselburgh 147, etc. 1657 Glasgow Trades House 342.
It sall not be leassum to any craftismane within this burghe except couparis to buy stingis to sell overgaine
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 850.
His harme, … on hicht … stud strekit thare A hyldry steng as it ware
1635–6 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 206.
(c) 1579 Edinb. Test. VII 206.
He leuis to his wyf the pleuch & pleuch graith with stangis & ȝokkis furneist
1629–30 Misc. Spald. C. V 102.
For ane stang to the kingis culleris, to be set up on the chappell, 18 s.
1630–1 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 175.
Ane lang aiken trie to be ane stang to on off the fyrbitts
1645 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 51.
To speik any of the Flanders merchands for bringing home of tua stangs and aucht sufficient nutes [pr. mites] for the pheissis in the packhouse
(d) 1580 Dundee Shipping L. 198.
1618 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 94.
For 2 steinȝies for the mappeits [1 s. 8 d.]
1618 Linlithgow Palace 338.
60 haill steingis
1685 Inverness Customs 12.
transf. a1585 Polwart Flyt. 829 (T).
Deid dring, dryd sting, thow will hing but a sunȝie

b. specif. A stave of wood suitable for making into a bow.See also Bow-sting n. 1551 Dundee B. Ct. II 106a (4 Nov.).
Thai haif bocht & sald sic bowstingis … for xxiiij cronis heir for the jugis hes modifeit the price of the said steingis … to xvj cronis
1552 Dundee B. Ct. II 195a (3 Nov.).
He ressauit fra George Bell xiiij bowstinngis & that he bogcht xv for the sovme of xx s. & to pay the said xiiij steyngis

c. A wooden pole used as a weapon. Freq. in collocations with staff.(1) c1420 Wynt. vi 1475 (W).
He mycht on na wys get saufte [sc. from the mice] Nouther for styngis [R. stawys] na for stanys
c1475 Wall. ii 49.
Vpon the hed ane with the steing hitt he Till bayn and brayn he gert in pecis fle
1513 Doug. vii viii 109.
The batalis war adionyt … Nocht in maner of landwart folkis bargane With hard blokkis … Nor blunt steyngis of the byrsillit tre Bot with scharp scherand wapynnys
1533 Boece 361b.
Wemen and servandis … bering lang scowris and styngis lyke speris
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 254. a1568 Scott ii 57.
With twa blunt trincher speiris squair It wes thair interpryis To fecht … Ane freynd … stall away thair styngis bath clair And hid in secreit wayis
1572 Peebles B. Rec. I 342.
The haill inhabitantis … of Peblis, baith young and auld that dow lift ane sting or wapping
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Stingisdint.
Ane dint or straike with ane sting or batton
1602 Crim. Trials II 388.
Bodin with ane grit sting or rung … [he] brak the girsell of his neise
1609 Garden Garden 53.
From both He struke the sting, and … plainlie made them Ledders vnto life
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1690.
Weil quo Will quhen his wife dang him, sche start to a sting and said she sould hang him
1661 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I 94.
[The said Donald] sett upon him with ane heasill sting of ten quarters lang
1665 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. II 106.
The said Sir Lodovik and his complices forsaids, pressing up the door without with long stinges … entered thereintill
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1681) i 6.
I did see the out-law Whiggs Some had Stings, some had Flails
(2) c1420 Wynt. vii 736 (W).
Than wes ordanit at … na lawit patrone, be staff na styng, Suld mak fra thin na collacioun
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2101 (Harl.).
That had not in my hand sa mekle gude, As staf or sting, ȝone truker for to strike
1535 Stewart 23018.
With staf and sting, withouten armes or geir
1562-3 Winȝet I 8/3.
Putand in the place of godly ministeris … dum doggis quha … dar not only nocht barke, bot maist schamefullie poyit with staff and sting … dar nother quhryne nor quhynge
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II 401.
[They pursued them] of thair lyffes with stalffes and stings

d. A maypole or the like, erected in connection with some festivity. 1709 Culross II 52.
Four pounds Scotts to be payed to Alexr. Birnay, wright, for erecting the stang for the scollers in August last in the Sand Haven

e. (On, with) sting and ling, (to carry a person or thing) by means of a rope suspended from a pole resting on the bearers' shoulders.Cf. stingman in f below. 1551–2 Perth Guildry 280 (15 Jan.).
For bering of ilk puncheon of wyne fra the schoir on styng and lyng
1557–8 Edinb. Old Acc. I 250.
For bringing up of ij of thir cutthrotts be four men with styng and lyng furth of Leith … v s.
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 110.
The secretare, … was borne up with sex workmen with sting and ling, and Mr. Robert Maitland haulding vp his heid
1593 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 504.
To 16 workmen for careying of the stanis … throw the kirk to the kirkȝaird with sting and lyng
a1700 Mare of Colinton 243.
By sting and ling they did up-bang her, And bare her down … To Duncan's burn

f. comb. Stingman, a porter who carried heavy loads by means of ropes and poles.Styngisdint, a fine for an assault with pole or stick.(1) 1552–3 Edinb. Old Acc. I 100.
To aucht sting men for bering of xviij flaggis to the wall vj s.
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 313.
To vj stingmen of the town to beir thir foirsaids stanis furth of the querrellis
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 302.
The said bailyie sittand in jugement for taiking ordour with the stingmen and polkmen vpoun the said schore
1583 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 303.
The pryces of thair wark and seruice is … for the stingmen … off ilk twn of wyne for bering on schore houssing and sellaring thairof far or neir twa schilling; … off ilk last of salmond … twa schillings [etc.]
1624 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 159.
To threttene steingmen that sortit the haill peices in Bernard Lindsayes close
(2) a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 36.
No bluidwitt stingfeint (strok with a sting) … or tearce of landis, should be heard within brugh
(3) 14.. Acts I 24/1.
Et sciendum est quod infra burgum non debet exaudiri blodewit nec styngisdynt nec merchet nec herieth

g. ? fig. The penis. a1568 Bann. MS 160b/69.
Wyse wemen Eftir thair husbandis deid Hes gottin men … With ane grene sting hes gart thame bring The geir quhilk won wes be ane dring

2. A (metal) rod (in a clock). 1692 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 313.
Patrick Kilgowr watchmaker … to make some new stangs and nutts for the movement of the four hands, [sc. of the church clock] for the makeing of them goe all equall alyke

3. A measure of land, ? a rod, pole. 1673 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 15.
For closeing of the Park towards Colstoun being 37 stings and 5 elnes sevene quarters high
1673 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. II 16.
For rebuilding of that pairt of the dyk which fell with the flood being nine stings and ane half of length

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"Sting n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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