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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STRAMASH, n., v. Also stramush (Bnff. 1846 Banffshire Jnl. (6 Jan.)), strumesh (Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 136), stramoosh (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); straemash (Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lxxvii.); strimmish; ¶stamash. [strɑ′mɑʃ]

I. n. 1. An uproar, commotion, hubbub, disturbance, a broil, squabble, row (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 269; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1803 Three Banks Rev. (June 1959):
A very unexpected stramash occurred in our Accomptant's office two days ago.
Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 139:
For a' his boozing, an' stramashes.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Legatees ix.:
She will raise sic a stramash, that she will send the whole government into the air.
Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 293:
Dinna kick up such a stramash at my yett again.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxi.:
There arose a stramash doon stairs fiercer than ordinary.
Sc. 1867 N. Macleod Starling ii.:
Ane o' them made a stramash atween our Auld Licht minister and the Customer Weaver.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 257:
They snortit and pranced and made an awfu' stramash.
wm.Sc. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days xxix.:
The warld's gane wud, Mr Dyce, wi' hurry and stramash.
Cai. 1909 D. Houston 'E Silkie Man 10:
Manny's 'e stramash 'at's here.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood i.:
The folk of Woodilee are ready enough for any stramash in kirk or state.
Bwk. 1943 W. L. Ferguson Vignettes 67:
Sic a stramash was never kent afore! The beas' are routin' like the verra deevil!
Bnff. 1968 Banffshire Advert. (23 May) 8:
Aye startin' some kine a stramash.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 73:
"Charlie says there wis a stramash ower some kegs and baccy Hay wis bringin' fae a hidey-hole somewheres in Arran,"
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 21:
Nae peety for them that cause a big stramash and yit
Jist gie in when it comes tae the bit.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Elder Stookie 51:
There had been quite a stramash when Keelan had first rung Paris.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 5:
Talkin aboot movin, whit wis aw that stramash yesterday, eh? Somedy says they wur shiftin us aw again. Ah hate a flittin. Ye aye leave somethin behind.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 2:
Yon wis a plus in Belle's buik, fur the quine hated the toun-the stoor, the soun and the stank o't; the stramash o its muckle marts, wi the fowk thick as flees roon puddens, the chokin rikk o its caurs an lums an larries.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 15:
Thae 'blips' hae caused a richt stramash.
Oor motorists are bleezin.
the toun's taen back
thir braw tar-mac
an plantit ruddy trees in.

2. A state of great excitement or rage, a fury (Sh., Cai. 1971).Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song 80:
Father had been in a fair stamash at that.

3. (1) A smash, crash, mishap, accident, disaster, ruinous event (I.Sc., Ags. 1971).Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xl.:
Trying what banes was hale after his stramash.
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan John Burnet ii. iv.:
I heard ye had some kind o' stramash.
e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 73:
Gif eneuch be left be this stramash to pey a' their passages.
wm.Sc. 1946 H. Reid Big Adventure 18:
Dinna cut a big dash, lest ye ha'e a stramash.

(2) A state of ruin or dilapidation, wreckage, a smashed or shattered condition (Sh., Ags. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial.Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 2:
Fearfu' the stramash and stour, When pinnacle cam doun and tow'r.
Ayr. 1838 J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers iv.:
Never did I see sic a stramash as that Rafrilan body has made o' my bit letter.
Slg. c.1860 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. (1923) 24:
O for a gran' stramash! Some coach an' pair tae break doon.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 117:
Let spires and pews wi' gran' stramash Thegither fa'.
Per. 1896 I. MacLaren Kate Carnegie 364:
It [a business firm]'s been rotten for a while, an' noo it's fair stramash.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 8:
[The walls] fell wi' sic a horrible stramash that I was waukened frae my dream.
Ork. 1920:
The twa geegs collided and meed a big stramash on the road.
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 31:
Doon in stour an' thunner cam' the castle in stramash.
Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 3:
Tulzie o win and rain blattert the nicht.
Foo mony blossoms fell mids the stramash?

(3) An unfortunate state of affairs. ne.Sc. 1991 Ken Morrice in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 59:
Sae dabbit wi floor and stew,
wi guff o yeast, a duntin nieve
and sweaty broo,
I wroch and wrastle
wi the hail stramash - hands and heid -
wark my wark for you.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 87:
Maybe he would get married this year; a wife might give some purpose to the whole stramash, someone to work for.

II. v. 1. intr. To create a disturbance, kick up a row, be rowdy (Sh., Cai., Abd., Per., Lnk., sm.Sc. 1971); tr. to confuse, agitate, bewilder. Vbl.n. stramashin, confusion, turmoil, feverish activity or ongoings (Id)Sh. 1879 Shetland Times (7 June):
I'm gettin' fairly strimmish'd tae ken what ye're up tae.
Sc. 1907 D. MacAlister Echoes (1923) 167:
Sleep — ye watna sic stramashin.
Ags. 1993 Willa Muir in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 95:
Is this His wark - I'll no say handiwark -
Is He the Father o' a' the stramashing,
Tearing, thrashing,
Louping, kicking, frichtened bairns?

2. To shatter, to smash to pieces (Bnff. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial.Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith 70:
Choking the lums with a divot which occasionally stramashed the Tea Pots.

[Orig. doubtful. The word is first recorded in Yks. dial. in 1788 in sense II. 2., and N.E.D. considers it to be an altered intensive form of smash, repudiating Jam.'s suggestion of connection with It. strammazare, to knock down, strammazone, a stramazon, a downward slash with a rapier in fencing. There is nothing inherently impossible in the adoption of a fencing term, phs. through slang, into dialect, but the phonology, esp. the accentuation, is difficult to explain and earlier historical evidence for development of meaning is lacking. The word may in fact be a corruption of O.Fr. escarmoche or one of its many forms, scar(a)musshe, skarmische, skrimishe, skrummage, which have produced Eng. scrimmage, skirmish. Cf. also Strabush.]

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"Stramash n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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