Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STREETCH, v., n. Also streach (Sc. 1724 Treatise on Fallowing 55), streech (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 6; Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 59; Rnf. a.1901 Poems Kilbarchan (Lyle 1929) I. 56; Uls. 1900 T. Given Poems 156), streich (Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 88), streitch (Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 136; Mry. 1969 Northern Scot (15 Feb.) 4), streitch. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. stretch (Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 41; Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (10 April) 422; Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 82; Slg. 1929 W. D. Cocker Dandie 46; Lth., Ayr. 1923–26 Wilson, Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. For other Sc. forms see Streek, v.1, n.1 [stritʃ]

I. v. 1. As in Eng. Hence streetcher, (1) the cross-bar which keeps apart the draught-chains between the trace- and cart-horses yoked in a team (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 367). Also in Eng. dial.; (2) a clothes-prop (Cai. 1900; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.; (3) a frame on which to stretch a shawl after washing (Sh. 1971). (2) Slk. 1892  W. M. Adamson Betty Blether 29:
Twa ends o' a broken claes streetcher.
Bnff. 1955  Banffshire Jnl. (24 May):
The stretchers holding up the clothes.
(3) Sh. 1899  Shetland News (28 Oct.):
A len o' Bawby's stretcher ta stretch her haps.

2. To stretch the legs, to walk, stride out, to take exercise by walking or dancing. Also in n.Eng. dial.; to stalk or strut about in a haughty manner, used sarcastically (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Kcb. 1971). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Lnk. 1792  J. Knox Airdrie Bards (1930) 310:
They're keen to get a streetchen, An' dance that day.
Fif. 1811  C. Gray Poems 75:
Whan he was young he aft gaed streachin' . Sax, aught, or ten miles to a preachin'.

3. To harrow land in the same direction as it was ploughed, to harrow along the furrows (Arg.1 1937).

4. To lay out (a corpse) for burial. Hence streetching-brod, -buird, the board on which this is done (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Kcb. 1971). Sc. 1834  G. R. Gleig Allan Breck III. vi.:
He took good care of his mother's streeching. He telt Effie that she might lay out the corpse if she liket.
Sc. 1851  S. R. Whitehead Rose Douglas xxi.:
Tummas was often oot wi' the stretching-brod.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 124:
Brocht in on the police streetchin' buird.
Arg. 1896  N. Munro Lost Pibroch 105:
There he was with the stretching-board under his arm — a good piece of larch rubbed smooth by sheet and shroud, and a little hollow worn at the head. Whom he was going to stretch he had no notion, except that it was a woman.

II. n. 1. As in Eng.: a stretch, extent; a continuous spell or “go” at some activity. Adv. strietchways, lengthwise, following the seam in a coal-mine. See Streek, n., 3. m.Lth. 1767  Session Papers, Earl of Abercorn v. Hope (14 July) 11:
They must only have left a common stoop, and have wrought strietch-ways.
Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 6:
I swom across the loch at ae streetch.
Sh. 1891  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 79:
A streetch o siller licht.
Dmf. 1920  J. L. Waugh Heroes 25:
The “streetch o' guid fishin' watter.”
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 2:
The skleff, strecht streetch at the head o' the brae.
m.Sc. 1933  J. Ressich Thir Braw Days 86:
Sic a graun' streitch o' shouthers.

2. A straining or relaxation of the strict import of a statement, regulation, etc., a forced argument or claim. Rare and obs. in Eng. Sc. 1703  Acts Parl. Scot. XI. 105:
The said Laws have been lyable to streatches, . . . in respect of their generality and the various construction which the same may admit.
Sc. 1704  J. Maidment Pasquils (1868) 382:
Thou furious reprobate pratling Whitelaw, Who with streatches and false claimes does bluster and blaw.
Sc. 1722  R. Wodrow Sufferings iii. viii. s. 4:
The Probation is summed up with much Cunning and many Stretches.
Sc. 1742  Kames Decisions (1799) 61:
A stretch beyond the common law.

[The long vowel derives from the lengthening of e in the open syllable of those parts of O.E. strccan, to stretch, in which the double consonant was simplified, e.g. the imper. and 3rd pers. sing. strce(þ), Mid.Eng. strēchen. O.Sc. streich, to extend, 1563.]

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"Streetch v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Mar 2018 <>



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