Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STING, n.2, v.2 Also steing (Abd. 1708 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VII. 88); staing, steng (Sh.).

I. n. 1. A pole, a long bar of wood, specif. one carried on the shoulders of two men, from which a load can be suspended by ropes or the like. Abd. 1701  J. Bulloch Pynours (1887) 73–4:
Crews for caryeing sting burdens. . . . Each Sting lift carried by two men is to pay the double of ane back burden.
Edb. 1703  Act for quenching of Fires (21 April):
Twenty-four Says and thirty six Stings with Knogs.
Gsw. 1726  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 252:
The toun providing each suggar house with four stings and stands and buckets.
Rs. 1727  W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) 133:
Fatt stings: 100 widdies.
Abd. 1735  Abd. Estate (S.C.) 53:
To the Blacksmith for Barrel Sting . . . 4s. 4d.
Sc. 1760  City Cleaned and Country Improven 9:
Two men-scavengers with the sting and say can carry more water conveniently than ten single persons can do with an open jirbling tub between their hands.
Abd. 1895  Sc. N. & Q. (1st Ser.) VIII. 125:
The quaint operation of carrying a barrel on a “sting” by two men.

Phr. sting and ling, lit., by means of a pole resting on the shoulders of two bearers, in carrying heavy or bulky articles, e.g. barrels, water-tubs, or the like (Sc. 1808 Jam.); fig., bodily, lock, stock and barrel. without ceremony, forcibly (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Sc. 1825 Jam.). Obs. or arch. See Ling, n.1 Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
I was at my mither to get her awa sting and ling or the redcoats cam up.
Ags. 1833  J. S. Sands Poet. Effusions 97:
Jean . . . wi' a flutter Brought the auld ladder sting and ling.
Hdg. 1883  J. Martine Reminisc. 143:
Two brewer's men carrying a barrel of ale, ‘Sting and Ling'.

2. A goad or stick for animals. Bnff. 1724  Annals Bnff. (S.C.) II. 219:
For a sting to drive the oxen . . . 1s.

3. A pole used to push a boat off a beach in launching it (Sc. 1825 Jam.) or in punting, a punt-pole. Hence boat-sting; stingsman, the man who keeps a salmon coble from grounding during fishing (Mry. 1925). Ags. 1795  Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 174:
The boat-sting is the instrument with which they drove their stone boat, and the length of it was twelve feet and upwards.

4. A mast in a boat (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 213, steng, staing, 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928)). Also in dim. form stengy (Edm.). See also Stang.

5. A stick with a forked iron tip used by thatchers to push straw into the roof (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Peb. 1802  C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 46:
The thatch, in small handfuls, twisted together at top, is thrust into holes previously made obliquely upwards in the divots by an iron-shod, dovetailed-pointed instrument (called a sting).

II. v. 1. To propel (a boat) in shallow water by means of a pole, to punt (Per., s.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Mry. 1852  A. Christie Mountain Strains 13:
They row'd an' sting'd thegither.

2. To use a sting in thatching; to push straw, etc., into a roof for thatch; to thatch with a sting (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Hence stinger, a thatcher (Sc. 1808 Jam.); a thatching fork, a sting (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); stinging board, a thatcher's sting. Board is here prob. an anglicised form of brod, for Prod, n.1, 1.; stingin-spurtle, id. (Cld. 1825 Jam.). See Spurtle. Sc. 1707  Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) lxiv.:
For 85 threve oat stra crop 1707 at 6s. to sting the house.
e.Lth. 1713  Country-Man's Rudiments 30:
Mind them yearly by stinging them with Straw alwise when they begin to fail.
Fif. 1793  Scots Mag. (Dec.) 617:
Striking Thomas Greig repeated blows on the head with a stinging board.
Peb. 1802  C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 46:
Heath is neither sewed nor stinged; excepting the first course along the heads of the walls, which is sewed to the spars.
em.Sc. 1909  J. Black Melodies 171:
As the weather was favourable, the sensible old stinger kept steadily at work.

[O.Sc. steng, a pole, a.1400, steing, a cudgel, 1475, sting and ling, 1557, O.E. steng, a stick. The O.N. cogn. is stng, Stang, n.2, v.2, with sim. meanings.]

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"Sting n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2017 <>



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