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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).
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Strang, Strong, adj. (adv.). Also: strange, straunge, stronge, strengh. Compar. also stronghar. Superl. also strangeast. [ME and e.m.E. strang (a1175), strong (Ancr. R.), stronge (Piers Plowman), compar. strengre (a1225), stranger (Cursor M.), stronger (a1450), superl. strengest (Ancr. R.), strongest (1530), OE strang, ON strangr.]Recorded as a surname from 1296, although this may be from OF estrange. See Black Surnames, s.v. Strang.

A. adj. 1. Of a person or animal, or a part of the body: Physically powerful; capable of feats of strength. Also in fig. context, and ellipt.(a) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 89.
With vesage lufly and lang, Body stalwart and strang
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 349.
War al your strenthis in ane, … He wald ourcum yow ilkane; Yone sterne is sa strang
a1500 Rauf C. 875.
Thow art stout and strang, and stalwart in fecht
c1515 Asl. MS I 326/23.
The thrid is luke in portratoure ane ox quhilk is a strang best
c1500 Crying of Play 6.
A gyand strang … That with the strenth of my hand Beres may bynd
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 18.
In till oure hert, quhill thou art herbriour, We ar viser than … Salomone … Stranger than Hectour, Judas, or Sampson
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxxviii 13.
The auld kene tegir … Thinking to grip ws in his clow[i]s strang
1513 Doug. ii vi 95.
O ȝe maist forsy ȝong men that beyn heir, Wyth brestis strang, and sa bald curage hie
1531 Bell. Boece II 83.
Arthure tuke gret delectatioun in wersling of strang kempis
1567 G. Ball. 81.
Siclyke of Juda the Lyoun strang, Upon the croce, He grat and hang
a1568 Scott ii 61.
Strangmen of armes and of micht Wer sett thame for to sidder
a1586 Lindsay MS 84.
The banerman suld be strang, leill to the prince
(b) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1483 (Bann.).
A thowsand mys to keill … Is littill manheid vntill a strong lyoun
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 113.
Thare saw I Mars, the god armypotent, Aufull and sterne, strong and corpolent
ellipt. 1492 Myll Spect. 278/3.
Samsone the strongest of manly natur

2. Able-bodied, robust; sturdy; capable of enduring physical strain or hardship.Freq., of able-bodied beggars, thieves, etc. 1531 Bell. Boece I lxi.
Othir castis thame to be strang and maistrifull thevis
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Prol. Rom. 340/1.
Ande this strife duris in us as lange as we lywe, in sum mair and in sum les, as the spret or the fleische is strangeast
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Prol. Rom. 343/24.
It is better, thairfor, [to forbeir] the wayke a quhile, wntill thai waxe stravnge
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2603 (B).
This bene agane thir strang beggaris, Fidlaris, pypparis and pardonaris [etc.]
1559 Edinb. B. Rec. III 42.
Strang beggeris … hes done gret hinder to the auld faillit burgessis and craftis men
1579 Reg. Privy C. III 138.
The strangest beggaris … gettis the almous, quhen the maist misterfull, seik and impotent creatouris ar owirsene and neglectit
1587 Edinb. Test. XVIII 204.
He is able to subdew all thingis vnto him self nocht as corruptable mortable vaik and wild body as it is now bot ane incorruptable immortall strang … bodie
1596 Bk. Univ. Kirk III 874.
Ane great number of idle persons without lawfull calling, as pypers, fidlers, … pleasants, strang beggers
c1650 Spalding I 53.
He is changȝeit be the arme to the arme of another strong lymmar

b. Physically mature, full-grown. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Prol. Rom. 342/8.
A mann maist be content with mylk for a ceasonn vntill he waxe strange ande grow wp vnto a perfite mann in Crist

3. Firm of purpose; bold, resolute. 1513 Doug. ix xiii 21.
Think ȝhe na … schame … To do sa gret owtrage to strang Enee [L. magni Aeneae]
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke xxiii 5.
And Pilat said … I find nathing of cause in this man. And thai wax strangare [W. strengare, P. stronger; L. invalescebant] and said, He commoues the pepile
15.. Clar. iv 1117.
For as the awfull lyoun beirs the croune, I meane of beists, … So is he alse stronge of all etheriall myndis Beine lord and king

b. Of actions or attributes. 1375 Barb. vi 128.
Strang wtrageous curage he had
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Prol. Rom. 333/30.
[St. Paul] commendis … baldnes, traist, confidence, and a strange ande anne lusty mynde
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1679.
I thynk we sulde conclude Quhov we maye make one strang defence Aganis sick walteris violence

4. Forceful, assertive; capable of exercising power, authority or influence.Freq., with negative connotations, applied to oppressors. 1460 Hay Alex. 2415.
Alexander gart hing and draw bedene All that war cum thair with the tratour strang
c1475 Wall. iii 261.
Schir Amar Wallange, a fals traytour strange [: amange], In Bothwell duelt
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 57 (Arund.).
O strang tirane tratour rycht tressonabill
1490 Irland Mir. III 126/27.
In the tym of pes mony noble confideracioun may be maid … and the strang naciounis ar mar inclinit tharto quhen thai se the prince and realme in pes
a1500 Bk. Chess 1212.
This worthy lord gart bynd this tratour strang
1513 Doug. iii i 30.
Trace … Quhar that vmquhile strang [L. acri] Lycurgus was kyng
1513 Doug. vi viii 82.
That strang lurdane than, … The Troiane matronys ledis [pr. hedis] in a ryng, Fenȝeand to Bachus feste and karellyng
1531 Bell. Boece I liv.
Be quhat ingine … thay have debatit aganis sa mony strong ennimes
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4182.
Duke Hanniball, the strang Cartagiane, The danter of the Romanis pompe and glorye
1587-99 Hume 57/185.
God the Lord the great triumpher strang
1587-99 Hume 74/204.
The pure quhome strang oppressors dois oppres
1641 Baillie I 345.
It kythed Strafford's friends were strongest in the Higher House

b. Of an emotion: Fervid, intense. 1513 Doug. iv x 18.
Strang luf begynnys to rage and rys agane

c. absol. as noun. a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 1035 (Wr.).
Oft-times … The strong ay with wrong ay Puts weaker to the wals

d. Of a thing, quasi-personified. c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 149.
Fortune is most and strangest euermore Quhare lest foreknawing or intelligence Is in the man
c1600 Montg. Suppl. xxxiv 154.
Now luf to God is out of land, And sellff luf waxis strange

5. Of a fighting force or its commander: Powerful militarily, formidable. Also transf. and fig. c1475 Wall. v 23.
A hundreth men chargit, in armes strang, To kepe a hunde that thai had thaim amang
c1475 Wall. xi 1017.
Thai thocht to bynd Wallace throu strenthis strang
1533 Boece 224.
Ane strang army was collectit to distroye the Romane Impire
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I 63.
Sone eftir gaderit ane strang cumpany owte of Ireland
1531 Bell. Boece II 29.
He gaderit xl.m men, strang and weil armit
1533 Bell. Livy I 217/16.
Thir Veanis laid ane strang garnison … in secrete glennys
c1590 Fowler II 75/2.
Howsoeuer it be that sic a interpryser be mervellouslye strong and vppropped be the number of his armie
c1590 Fowler II 79/19.
All the maist feblest … assembleth to his partye, … spurred with envy quhilk they beare to there nighbours mair stranger then they be
1596 Dalr. I 138/14.
He sayles to Scotland, with a strang and starke armie
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 36.
Daylie maid hir pairty waiker that the regents partie mycht be strangar
1607 Bk. Islay 121.
The Clandonald, being the strangest piller of all the broken Hieland men
1649 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 569.
To this they add a ridiculouslie palpable ly, that the Marques of Huntly was strong and marching southward
transf. a1578 Pitsc. I 144/4.
To bear fourtht the seige aie an quhill the castell sould be randerit or ellis owercum and win be strang handis
1596 Dalr. I 184/16.
Donald … invades the realme, finding it … bair of strang handes to defend it
fig. 1562-3 Winȝet I 62/5.
[God] sall steir wp in his contrare strangar kempis and perfytear procutaris than I am, to oppin out and mak manifest the hypocrisie of the fule

6. Of a body of water: Moving with great force. Also in fig. context. c1515 Asl. MS I 157/16.
The strenth of the flude of the see Elesponte … may nocht withstand the cours the strenth & the strang stremis that rynnis thair cours
c1515 Asl. MS I 160/25.
The hale occiane is strangare & makis mar operacioun of the mone than ony part be him self
c1616 Hume Orthog. 14.
Nether for the idle e, nor the sound of the s, have we anie reason; nether daer I, with al the oares of reason, row against so strang a tyde

7. Of a castle, fortification, etc.: Capable of offering strong resistance; difficult to capture; impregnable. Also, in fig. context, of a person. Also transf.Cf. Strang hald n. a1500 Lanc. 2539.
Stronghar thane ony wallit toune His oft y-bout yclosit in randoune
a1500 K. Hart 1.
King Hart, in to his cumlie castell strang
a1500 K. Hart 774.
The castell ȝet is strang aneuche to hald
a1500 MS Rawl. Q. b. 4 91b.
The gude syment With quhilk men mais as men sais The strang willis [? erron. for wallis] of Sarazynis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) lxxxviii 20.
Strong Troy … Of royall cities rose
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 151.
Ane thowsand kiddis, … in faldis full strang
1533 Bell. Livy I 52/18.
The Albanis … beltit thare armye with ane strang fowsye on euery side
1535 Stewart 12415.
Galdus … Oure strangest strenth, and tour inexpugnabill
1562-3 Winȝet II 4/35.
That our new citie of Jerusalem suld be sa strang an hald, that [etc.]
1570 Sat. P. xx 76.
To wirk ȝow tene thai mak the Quene Thair strenth and strang blokhous
1570 Leslie 141.
The seige being laid to the saide castell it wes sa strange of it self and sa weill providit, that it culd on na wayis be won
c1630 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 163.
The saids inhabitants having this illand for ane strengh house to keep himself and the principall men of his kin and friends from their enemies
c1650 Spalding I 282.
Thay … gave thankis to God for intaking of this strong hous with so litle skaith
transf. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1714.
That towre thay rasit … And iunit of so strong fassioun, With syment maid of pyk and tar

b. Of a prison, captivity, etc.: Strongly built; difficult to break into or escape from. c1475 Wall. xi 200.
A fell lyoun the king has gert be brocht With in a barrace … In that strang strenth the king gert men him feid; Kepyt him clos
1535 Stewart 29137.
The lordis … tuke the king and put in presoun strang
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1685.
One citie with ane strang dungeoun That none ingyne may ding it doun
c1590 Fowler I 65/205.
Within that cage and dungeoun dark, that … preasoun stark & strong We captiuat wer prisoneris
1620 Aberd. Council Lett. I 183.
That … yow apprehend this fellow committ him to strang ward examine him [etc.]

8. Of a thing: Capable of withstanding strain or pressure; solidly constructed; stout. Also in fig. context. Also transf. a1400 Leg. S. xii 278.
[He] hyme-self can hynge With a cord bath styth & strange
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1536.
In bandis strang heir man I ly
c1475 Wall. vii 977.
Ramsay gert byg strang bestials off tre
a1500 K. Hart 102.
Ane brig that hegeit wes and strang
a1500 Bk. Chess 2107.
The men with men fechtis apone fute And the women with strang bowes thai schut
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1234.
Syne to the croce a lang ledder thai iune, Of that hurde to lows the lokis strang
1513 Doug. iii ii 82.
The strang wallis of Troy
1533 Boece 168.
Adriane … gart big ane thik strang wall of dovettis and faill
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 463.
Thair speiris war sa teuch & strang, That [etc.]
1562-3 Winȝet I 37/23.
Wylfull blyndness … haldis him … sa fetterit, as it war, with certane strang chenis
1567 G. Ball. 153.
I was betin … With scurgis scharp and strang
1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World 150.
A cross-cloath of strong linning
transf. 1531 Bell. Boece I 182.
To repair the said wall in all partis, with touris and bastailyeis rising in the strangest maner that micht be devisit

b. In constructions comparing persons to things. Also in fig. context.(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) xxvii 27.
The tailȝeour hecht … That he suld ding the sowtar doun, Thocht he wer strang as mast
1531 Bell. Boece I xi.
Laubour me haldis strang as ony wall, And no thing brekis me bot slogardy
1535 Stewart 12029.
The Albionis, als strang as ony aik
1535 Stewart 19994.
At hir … defence, als strang as ony wall, Tha stude
15.. Clar. ii 890.
He seimit feirce and strong as ony wall
15.. Clar. iii 1121.
His michtie corpis … Strong as ane toure againis the speiris poynt
(2) a1570-86 Dunb. in Maitl. F. 226/73.
I synnit Lord nocht being strang as wall In houp of fayth in fervent cherite

9. Of a collection of things: Large in number, numerous. 1596 Dalr. II 290/6.
A strang spoyl thay bring with thame

10. Severe, oppressive; hard to bear. a. Of suffering, punishment, etc. Also be (with) (the) strang hand, by repressive means.(1) a1450 Fifteen Ois 312.
Than virgyn fleche all fadis Throu panis strang that Thé inwadis; And in the merch of Thi banis clang Throw Thi passioun wes so strang
1460 Hay Alex. 3750.
To send him helpe, vndir gret panis strang
a1500 Quare Jel. 123.
I can nocht wit quhat is the cause or quhy This lady suffrit this strong aduersitee
a1510 Aberd. Univ. Rev. XXXVI i 44.
I sall ger fasone weile a flane And schut yt fra my hart The schaft sel be of sorowefule men The hede of panis strang
1513 Doug. iii iv 90.
For strang hungir sal ȝe stand in sik state In wraik of our iniuris and bestis slane
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Rev. xix 15.
And he treddis the pressour of wyne of strang vengeance of the ire of almychtj God
1535 Stewart 7864.
He previt hes the panis of strang deid
(2) 1460 Hay Alex. 3058.
[He] maistrit all the cuntre with strang hand
1596 Dalr. I 149/29.
He intendet, that quhat he culde nocht obteine be fairnes, to win it be the strang hand

b. Of a storm. 1535 Stewart 41937.
So strang ane storme thair blew out of the north Quhilk draif the king wnto ane litill ile

c. Of a battle, war, military action: Fierce, hard-fought. 1460 Hay Alex. 3820.
The grevis war grete, the stoure was stour and strang
c1475 Wall. vi 564.
And traistis weill, the sailȝe wes rycht strang
a1500 Bk. Chess 946.
Richt dowtit ar knychtis in batall strang
c1475 Wall. xi 10.
Off set battaillis fyve he dyscumfyt haill, But jeperte and mony strang assaill
c1500-50 Brevis Cronica 327.
Duncane, … began strang battaill with the Pychtis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (STS) vii 9.
Welcum in stour most strong, incomparable knight
1513 Doug. i Prol. 250.
The last sax bukis of Virgill … contenys strang batalis and werys
1513 Doug. viii iv 45 (Ruddim.).
New from the slauchter into strang melle
1513 Doug. viii viii 124, etc.
a1561 Norvell Meroure 5b.
I moue stronge warres & cruell battalles saire
1562-3 Winȝet II 55/3.
Be sa strang mellis and hemmeris quha suld nocht be betit doun?

d. Of lying, treason: Flagrant. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1375.
Be cursit consait and lesing strang, To deid him to conuict and fyle
1581 Sat. P. xliv 340.
Ȝour treason strang ȝour fyrie breist sall ding

11. a. Of beverages: Having a high alcohol content; potent. Freq., strang watter(is), (alcoholic) spirits (L. aqua fortis). b. Of poison: Of a high level of toxicity.a. 1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 100.
Generall drynkingis, in the quhilk he that mycht drynk maist of … strangest wynis wes crovnit with wynebynd
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 144.
Thay had na uther kynd of drink to satisfie thair thirst, bot ather the strangest wynes, or the rayne water
1632 Edinb. Test. LVI 23b.
Twa misseris for strong watteris
1661 Nicolson Diurnals 10 Jan.
Ane barrell of strong watters 3 li. 8 s.
1664 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp in Misc. Maitl. C. II 519.
To a boy that brought some strong watteris to his Lordship
1667 Edinb. B. Rec. X 28.
Beir aill aquavitae and strong waters native and forraigne
1670 Aberd. Council Lett. V 66.
That all beir aill strong watters and uther provissiounes for outreiking of any vessell for the saids fishing of the said Companie is and sall be frie of all maner of impositiones
1683 Inv. in Donibristle Mun. (Earl of Moray's MSS.) 7 (9-10 May).
In my Lords closet … ane strong water cellar
a1688 Wallace Orkney 35.
They use strong ale and beer (the nature of the climate requiring strong liquor)
1693 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 76.
Two shillings Scots for ilk pint of strongwateris
b. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4202.
He gat sic extreme confusioun, He slew hym self in drynking strang poysoun
a1649 Drummond Wks. (1711) 224.
It was strong and lusty poison

c. Of substances: Having a powerful effect, etc., esp. strang wesche, stale urine. a1500 Henr. Practysis 48.
This vntment is rycht ganand for ȝour awin vs, With reid nettill seid in strang wesche to steip
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 97/9.
That fulle dismemberit hes my meter, And poysonid it with strang salpeter
1540 Lynd. Sat. 4146 (B).
A culroun quene, a laithly lurdane, Off strang wesche scho ill tak a iurdane

d. Of odour, flavour: Powerful, strong. a1500 Bk. Chess 334.
Thai … temyt a jurdane of a strange gust Dovne on his hed
1513 Doug. vii i 134.
Quhar from the erth … A strang flewyr thrawis vp in the ayr
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 15 (H).
Thy smell was so fell, and stronger nor muist

12. a. Of temptation: Powerfully attractive; hard to resist. b. Of an obstacle: Hard to overcome. c. Of a case, etc.: Powerfully argued; hard to reject or confute.a. 1567 G. Ball. 66.
I am compassit round about, With sore and strang temptatioun
b. 1642 Humble Petition of the Commissioners of the Kirke 4.
The strongest let, till it be taken out of the way is the mountaine of prelacy
c. 1490 Irland Mir. I 111/14.
And to conferme and suple hire scistir, … returnit the lady Dame Faith and Verite with strang spreit and argument
1490 Irland Mir. I 119/33.
Sene the ressounis and powere of oure scister Dame Mercy, are sa strange that na way thai may be resistit
1647 Lennoxlove MS (The Duke of Hamilton) C1/9768.
Strang demands are preparing to be offered to his majestie

13. Of a mental impression: Vivid, strongly felt or imagined. 1581 Burne Disput. Sig. a viij b.
God vil send thame ane effectuous, and strang delusioun of error

14. a. Of language, etc.: Powerful; strongly-worded, emphatic. b. Of an oath: Powerful, binding.a. c1520-c1535 Nisbet 2 Cor. x 10.
For thai say, that the epistilis ar greuouse and strang, bot the presens of the body is febile and the word worthi to be despiset
a1568 Bann. MS 249a/20.
The les pety ȝe haif to heir me plenȝe The strangest wordis ȝe can devys ȝe geif
1641 Baillie I 372.
Mr. David's strang replyes to the Moderator would have been taken in worse part, if the Constable's naughtiness … had not offended us all
b. ?1438 Alex. ii 2852.
Than was that iorney thame amang Vndertane and sworne with aithis strang

B. adv. 1. In a forcible manner; powerfully, violently. c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 68.
Thay no stranger May wirken ony wight
a1500 K. Hart 320.
Mony previe wound That dois oft sys him strang with stoundis smart
1513 Doug. vi viii 90 (Sm.).
With hevy curis lang Of irksum weir and sad, slummeris strang Oppressit
c1568 Lauder Minor P. ii 26.
Hipocrasie … and pryde Now blawis thair bugillis strang and sture
1570 Sat. P. xviii 63.
His father [you] wyrreit strang

2. Solidly, securely. a1500 K. Hart 73.
So strang this king thocht his castell stude

3. comb. In a strong degree; strongly, intensely. 1604 James VI Tobacco 94/40.
Such is the miraculous omnipotencie of our strong tasted tobacco, as it cures all sorts of diseases

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"Strang adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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