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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FREMD, adj., n., v. Also fremt, fraimt; frem(e), fraim(e), †fr(e)ame; frem(m)it, -yt, fremmet, frem(m)(e)d, framet, -ed, frammit; fren(d) (Fair Isle, Ork., Cai.). [Sh., Rs., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Fif., Lth., Rnf., ‡Rxb. fremd, fremt, frem, frɛ-; Fif., Clc., Peb., Rnf., Lnk., Dmf. ′frɛmɪt; Ork., Cai. frɛn(d)]

I. adj. 1. Strange, unfamiliar, foreign (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Sh., Rs., ne.Sc., em.Sc., Lnk., Dmf. 1953). Also in Eng. dial. Hence fremitwise, fremd-, id. (Sh. 1953); fremitness, strangeness, unfamiliarity.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 5:
Gin this ye do an lyn your rime wi' sense But ye'll make friends of fremmet fouk, fa' kens!
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 51:
Ae day Strathfallen took the bent, To hunt the fremmit yowes.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
He routed like a cow in a fremd loaning.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 85:
An' the hame that ance was mine Is a fremmit house to me.
Sc. a.1825 The King's Dochter in Child Ballads No. 52 A vii.:
I wish I had died on some frem isle And never had come hame.
Sc. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. I. 246:
Its long-maintained independence is yet indicated by the popular phrase, — the fremit Scot o' Gallowa.
Dmf. 1846 R. W. Thom Dominie's Charge 101:
Ay, sit doun; folks aye look fremmit-like when they're standing, as Lucky Gillpot says.
Sc. 1862 J. Brown Rab and his Friends 28:
Rab called rapidly, and in a “fremyt” voice.
Knr. 1886 “H. Haliburton” Horace 39:
Sweet Nannie! there's nae fairer face, . . . In ony frem'd or foreign place.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 92:
The old manse . . . had still a lonesomeness and fremitness that often made my heart sore.
Dmf. 1921 J. L. Waugh Heroes 18:
It is quate, an' dootless ye'll feel lonely an' fremitwise at times.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 31:
It's a fine large place, and many a stranger is lying fremd and forsaken under the shade of the Cypress-trees.
Bnff. 1927 Banffshire Jnl. (29 March):
As ye warstle on wi' Fate oot there in countries far an' frem'.
Sc. 1930 T. R. Barnett Autumns in Skye 166:
Bring the breath of a fremmit world into these utter desolations.
Fif. 1985 Tom Hubbard in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 30:
There in thon fremmit grun they howk
Neath trees whase gentie leaves pynt doun
Tae kythin o their courss beginnins:
m.Sc. 1987 Ian Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 50-1 78:
It wad be nae ferlie gin they had become acquaint, twa fremmit chiels in the muckle city wi a guid deal to haud them thegither ...
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 55:
... nae mair a pairt o thair realitie
nor fremit beasts in a faur ceetie zoo?
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 33:
Ae nicht he'll skite
on crackt bitter causey
and freeze in his bluid,
his body huddert
like fremmit land
Slg. 1990s:
That's fremit tae me.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 110:
In fower fremmit leids, an ane o them yer ain:
Thon's oor new tenements, bield fer the fowk
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 51:
English residence efter thirty years was
in my past. Yet I heard the Scottish voices as fremmit.

Phr.: †to come till a fremd toun wi, to be mistaken about.m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xi.:
Ye've come till a frem'd toun wi' Eppie.

2. Strange in manner, distant, aloof; estranged, unfriendly, cold (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 72:
Better my Friend think me framet than fashious.
Abd. 1755 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 34:
I saw a curn o' camla-like follows wi' them, an' I thought they war a fremt to me.
Ayr. 1789 Burns Five Carlins xviii.:
And monie a friend that kiss'd his caup Is now a fremit wight.
Mry. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 224:
But was na Jean there — tocher'd lass, And neither proud nor fraime.

3. Unrelated, not belonging to one's own family or kin (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 243; Sh., ne.Sc., Ayr. 1953). Freq. applied to hired servants or to service with families not one's own.Abd. 1755 R. Forbes Shop Bill xii.:
Gloves likewise, to hap the hand Of fremt an' sib.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvi.:
The next time that ye send or bring ony body here, let them be gentles allenarly, without ony fremd servants.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 280:
How can I help sobbin', when I leave my mother's house for a fremit place.
Peb. c.1870 Sc. National Readings (1914) 168:
Is this the way the fremit serve us?
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 109:
Sib nor frem't e'er lookit her airt, But drew to some neighbourin' lass.
Bch. 1900 Trans. Bch. Field Club V. 217:
The handful was sometimes done up in the form of an effigy and carried to the toon with a kind of triumphal procession, formed of the company of harvesters, the sib and the fremit, i.e., the relations of the farmer and his hired hands.
Kcb. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 190:
In the same family, ye'll fin the son an his faither, granfaither, an great-granfaither, a' wi different names; ye wud think they wur a' fremit tae yin anither.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 31:
Nae winder 'at doo's ill-laekit bi a' 'at iver kent dee, sib an' fremm'd alaek.
m.Sc. 1922 “O. Douglas” Ann and Her Mother iii.:
If he hadn't married he would have been dependent on fremt women.
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (27 March):
They were the days, too, when I came into first real grips with undisguised “fremit” conditions.

Comb.: †frem-sted (Rxb. 1825 Jam.), -bestead, surrounded by or dependent on strangers.Lnk. 1818 A. Fordyce Country Wedding 60:
She's e'en fremt bestead But a woman's no sick aye, when she taks the bed.

II. n. A stranger (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). Gen. used with the def. art. as a collective n. = strangers, outsiders, the world at large outside one's own family or circle of friends (I. and n.Sc., em.Sc., Dmf., ‡Rxb. 1953). Freq. referring to service with strangers, as in phrs. to gang (awa) to the fremd, — out amang the fremd, to try the fremd, to leave home for the first time to take a job, to set out to make one's way in the world. Also phr. to mairry fremit, to marry outside one's own kith and kin.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 80:
Amid this strowe o' warl's wae, Baith frien' an' frem'd became my fae.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 153:
I'll no ken them now frae the frem, Nor yet will they ken me.
n.Sc. 1835 H. Miller Scenes and Leg. 291:
My mother died and left me among the freme.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxiv.:
Deeply obligatit though I was to the fremyt for the interest they were appearanly manifestin'.
Abd. 1867 Mrs Allardyce Goodwife vii.:
Fan they come first to sair the frem.
Ags. 1897 in A. Reid Bards of Ags. 363:
The faces o' the frem'd fill my youthfu' hame.
Kcb.4 1900:
A young man who leaves home to push his way in the world is said to have gone to try the “fremit.”
Dmf. c.1902 A. E. M. Lilts frae the Border 15:
Some say she's o' the gipsy folk That mairret fremit.
Sh. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 228:
“Inbu da fremmd” was the sacred duty of the hearty old Udallers.
Kcb. 1912 W. Burnie Poems 112:
He to the fremit had to gang Like every ither ane.
Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Cai. Proverbs 9:
Fa'll nae work for freens maun serve 'e fren.
Bnff. 1927 E. S. Rae Hansel fae Hame 1:
It's far the furth ye face the fremt, but aye The hert rugs hame fae ootmaist eyens o' earth.

III. v. To estrange. Only as ppl.adj. in proverbial saying below.Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 32:
Better a fremit friend than a friend fremit [i.e. Better have a stranger for your friend than a friend turned stranger].

[O.Sc. fremmit, a.1400, fremd, 1493, strange, unrelated, strangers; unfriendly, a.1500; O.E. frem(e)de, strange, estranged, foreign. For the forms with -n-, cf. Norw. dial. fremmende, strange, Icel. framandi, a stranger.]

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



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