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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Naro(w, Narro(w, a. Also: nar(r)ow(e, nar(r)ou, narew, narraw, nawreye; nerou, nerrow. [ME.(14th c.) and e.m.E. nar(r)ow(e, ME. narrwe (Orm), nar(u)we (13th c.), narewe (13th c.), nerewe (12–13th c.), neruwe (Ancr. R.), nareu (12th c.), naru (Orm), narw (Rolle), OE. nearu, -o, inflected nearwe.]

1. Narrow, constricted, in usual lit. applications. Also comb.Occurring early in the street-name Narrow-, Narewgate (? 12.. Liber Melros II. 691), Narou-, Narogate (1337 Rot. Scot. 491/2, 492/2), in Berwick. 1375 Barb. iii. 108.
Till that he was Entryt in ane narow place Betuix a louchside and a bra
Ib. viii. 38, x. 18. c1420 Wynt. iv. 261.
Smalle And narow swyrlis
Ib. i. 385.
c1420 Bute MS. 173.
In a narow havyn
c1475 Wall. x. 380.
Gramys byrny was to narow sumdeill Be neth the waist that clos it mycht nocht be
Ib. vii. 652. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 156/17.
Besyd Grece … he waxis narow
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lx. 55.
With hoppir hippis and henches narrow
1513 Doug. ii. vi. 69.
In rewis and narow stretis
Ib. viii. vi. 126.
The myghty gret Ene Within hys narrow chymmys ledis he
1531 Bell. Boece I. xxvii.
Nidisdail … beginis with ane narow and strait hals
1533 Boece i. iv. 39 b.
Oursaling the naro firthis
a1538 Abell ii b.
Babilon … wes … braid at the fute growand nerrow to the heid
1549 Compl. 99/8, 10.
Narou … narrou
1591 Edinb. Test. XXII. 363.
Twelf hankis of narrow wyre for fische huikis
1603 Moysie 87.
Ane narow entrie
1611 Reg. Panmure I. xcv.
On the southe and northe sydes … quhar the croce is mor narrowe
compar. 1576 Crim. Trials I. ii. 52.
I thocht he gait in at ane naroware hoill of the dyke nor ony erdlie man culd haif gane throw
1596 Dalr. I. 52/13.
The gret hil named Grampie … extending throuch the midcuntries, sum tymes braider, sum tymes narower
1597 Cochran-Patrick Coinage I. 269.
Thair sall be na pece of money … that sallbe … braider or naroer ane nor another
comb. 1531 Bell. Boece I. xxxiv.
Ane lang mand, narow halsit and wyid mouthit
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
An narow halsit weschell
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV. 192.
Ane narrow lippit castour hat

b. In various special applications.Of cloth and garments; of a working in a coal-mine; narrow se(is, strait(s), narrow(s).(1) 1443 Ayr Chart. 28.
To tap bradeclaith ande narow
1505 Treas. Acc. III. 38.
For ane tepat of naro taffetj
1529 Ib. V. 369.
With braid bordowris and narrowis
1576 Edinb. Test. V. 56 b.
xliij girdillis of narrow wark
1586 Ib. XV. 64 b.
xx ellis of lytill narrow pasmentis for hatt lippis
1604 Wedderb. Compt. Bk. 45.
Ane narrow pece quhyt clayth
1609 Edinb. Test. XLIV. 346 b.
Thrie boltis narrow cullorit doubill lillikynnis
1611 Wedderb. Compt Bk. 56.
Ane pece of narro clayth
1644 Acts VI. i. 238 b.
One each elne of narro cloath
(b) 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 48 a.
2 boutes of quhit rebenes the ane bred and the wther nawreye
(c) 1554 Acts & Decr. X. 280.
Ane nerrow orpheous of gold
1586 Perth B. Ct. 15 June.
Ane nerrow argenty vob of xl elnis
1701 Aberd. Journal N. & Q. VI.178.
For seaven ells of nerou linnen
(2) 1678 Sheriffhall Coal Accompt.
[For] working narrow work
(3) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 156/23.
This narow se is callit Sanct George Arme
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 208.
Thair is a guid number of schipis at Dover-raid, and vtheris the narrow sies
1612 Misc. New Spald. C. I. 110.
Vice-admirall of his maiesties schippis in the narrow sies
1622-6 Bisset II. 199/11.
In the narrow seais called Hillispontus
a1651 Calderwood VII. 203.
Twentie-sixe shipps were suffered to come through the narrow seas from Spaine to Dunkirk

2. In various fig. uses. a. Of persons: Sparing, parsimonious, mean. b. Of a mode of life: Needy, deprived, poor. c. Of religious belief: Very strict, illiberal. d. Narrow (= strict, close, careful) search (also look).a. 1456 Hay II. 49/27.
And that he war nocht our narow na nedy that he had lak tharethrou
Ib. 80/17, 25.
That is na vice in a king to be narow till himself and large to his subjectis
1596 Dalr. II. 261/11.
Nouther was he ouer skairs narrow or gredie
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1671) 136.
If Christ can make any thing of my naughtie short and narrow love to Him
1659-60 A. Hay Diary 220.
It was not expedient to me to buy from them becaus they are somquhat narrow
b. 1533 Boece ii. xii. 84 b.
Apoun rutis of herbis … scho liffit ane herd and narow liffe
Ib. vii. 71.
Ib. ix. xviii. 336 b.
Thir deuote persouns … gevin … to husband laubore, quharethrow thai mycht sustene thare narow life
c. 1622 Scot Course of Conformity 109.
A narrow faith makes a roome conscience
d. 1648 Moray Synod 94.
The presbytery of Strathboggie appoynted to … mak narrow search of the same [sc. a report] and [etc.]
? 1665 Butler Leighton 373. 1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 496.
Which prompted me to make a narrow search when the head was taken out of the coffin
a1700 Charters Spiritual Disc. 10.
If you will take a narrow look of them

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"Naro adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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