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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.

STRAVAIG, v., n. Also stravag(e), stravague, -vaeg-, -vayg-, -veig, -vaug-; strayvagg-, streveg; stravog (Uls. 1904 E.D.D.). [strɑ′veg, †′-vɑg]

I. v. 1. intr. To roam, wander idly, gad about in an aimless casual manner (s.Sc. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 379; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. and ppl.adj. stravaigin.Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 158:
Pith, that helps them to stravaig Our ilka cleugh and ilka craig.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 112:
Some notion o' my land-lowperlike stravaguin.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 102:
[They] fright the herds, wi' eldrich croon, Wha gaung straveigen by the moon.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck i.:
What has put it i' your head that our bairn stravaigs i' the night time.
Abd. 1837 J. Leslie Willie & Maggie 25:
Gaun streveggin hine awa there.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 18:
The idle, extravagant, stravaigin' hizzie that she is.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 427:
They use't tae stravaig a gey deal aboot the shore.
Gsw. 1902 J. J. Bell Wee MacGreegor vi.:
Dinna let me catch ye stravaygin awa' again.
Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 185:
Dey wad fund da fok i tha Hillside gaun stravaigan aboot i heather jakets.
Sc. 1965 Weekly Scotsman (4 March) 19:
We used to stravaig all over the Highlands on motor bikes.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 197:
"They get their heids full of daft ideas along wi' the Latin. I want them at hame here and an' no stravaiging awa' to ither jobs."
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 196:
Next time God was holding forth at the bench Satan turned up to put in his needleful.
'So,' said God, 'where have you been stravaiging to this time?'
'Oh, the usual,' said Satan. 'Boxing the compass, round and about. North, south, east, west. You know how I like to travel.'
Sc. 1990 Scotsman 1 Sep 13:
The SLF [Scottish Landowners Federation] is well aware that the spirit of tolerance and neighbourliness that has existed for decades between owners and those who stravaig over their land is being strained by the sheer volume of usage in some places and by selfishness, on both sides, in others.
Sh. 1991 William J. Tait in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 45:
Whaar my niest stramp mycht faa, what rod
My wilt stravaigin fit mycht tak,
A feddir in a mirkabrod;
Whin every waa at croes me in
Rins tae hits aishins i da staars
Sc. 1993 Herald 28 Jun 9:
I will never forget Tuesday evening in particular, having spent an afternoon stravaiging among the nooks and crannies of Stromness ...
Gsw. 1994 Daniel O'Rourke ed Dream State xliii:
His skilfully expressed affection for Kilmarnock and its environs calls to mind Stewart Conn. He stravaigs with the wide eye of a Burns or a Whitman. His poetry loves and learns.
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 4:
yonder a riven cage o marrieless ribs,
the braith caad fae't
or a femur enn dichtit smuith
bi the lang stravaigin streed
o the baggie breikit beist.
m.Sc. 1997 Tom Watson Dark Whistle 54:
Whaur raggy chiels
Stravaig in crimson
Snaw - is his

Hence stravaiger, a wanderer, a roaming vagabond person, a stroller (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1971), a seceder, ¶stravagueries, pranks, roving escapades.Edb. 1767 Session Papers, Dick v. Tennent Proof 11:
A step made by stravaguers through the grass upon the south side of said inclosure.
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. xi.:
Some hill stravauger wad hae seen or heard tell o' ye.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xiii., l.:
Lady Macadam's hens and fowls being great stravaggers for their meat. . . . Edifying monuments of resignation even among the strayvaggers.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man III. vii.:
It is hard to be eaten out o' house and hald wi' sorners and stravaegers this gate.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 17:
Wrestlings, racings, with other vain stravagueries.
Kcb. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy l.:
The deil tak' a' stravaigers and run-the-countries that gae wanderin' in sic weather.
em.Sc. 1913 J. Black Gloamin' Glints 142:
The grun's rowed on an' trampit sair wi' stravaigers.
Gsw. 1937 F. Niven Staff at Simson's iv.:
A great stravaiger to horse-races, whippet-races, country fairs, agricultural shows.
Sc. 1986 Books in Scotland 23 34:
Hamish Brown is a celebrated stravaiger and an important part of his life has been devoted to the outdoors - and to the proselytising of it, in many ways.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 24 Jun 8:
The Scots have always been stravaigers, complacently regarding the trait as evidence of their easy internationalism. It's not just the daring voyagers like Mungo Park or Livingstone but the whole legion of wandering Scots who, from early times, swarmed across Europe as missionaries, mercenaries, traders and scholars.

2. tr. To traverse, to go up and down (a place) (Sh., ne.Sc., Per. 1971).Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 68:
Stravagin' the country sellin' heather reenges an' cawf's maws for makin' cheese.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 234:
Brownies wander there, they say; Ghaists an' ghouls stravaig it steady.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 126:
Instead o' gaun away oot to stravaig the street.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 44:
Stravaigin the wardle wide.
Gsw. 1956 Bulletin (27 Jan.) 5:
Stravaiging the streets meant to me a hopeless, helpless, aimless wandering up and down with no clear thought in the mind.

II. n. A roaming about, an aimless, casual rambling, a stroll (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 184). Also fig. Gen.Sc. Adj. ¶stravaigie, going beyond the usual bounds, errant, capricious. Sc. 1834 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) IV. 85:
Whatever folk happened to fa' in wi' them on the stravaig.
Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales of Glens 243:
Taking a stravaig amang your braw mountains.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 250:
I had been awa on the stravaig wi' John Paiks.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 271:
A wife who periodically went on what was called the “stravaig.”
e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 108:
Nature, ever, noo-an'-than, Grows saucy an' stravagie.
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 39:
The lang stravaig through the kintry wide.
Sc. 1991 Peter Drummond Scottish Hill and Mountain Names 155:
Our stravaig around Skye's Norse and Gaelic hill names could end with a consideration of Cuillins' finest peaks...
Abd. 1993:
At young folks' aye on e stravaig fin ere's quines aboot.
Edb. 2004:
We went for a wee stravaig roond Arthur's Seat.

[Aphetic form of Extravage, q.v., O.Sc. extravage, to ramble in talk, the root meaning persisting under the influence of Vaig.]

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



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