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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.

STANG, v.1, n.1 Also staang; rarely stank, also in n.Eng. dial. Vbl. forms: pa.t. stang(i)t, stanged; pa.p. stanged. [stɑŋ]

I. v. 1. tr. To sting, of an insect, a snake, a nettle, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.; to pierce, jab, as with a sting; to wound, cause sudden harm or pain to (the body or the mind). Also ppl.adj. stangin. Hence stanger, the lesser weever, Trachinus vipera (Abd. 1878 Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Abd. 89); a jelly-fish, Medusa (e.Lth. 1911); stangie, a jocular nickname for a tailor from the pricking of his needle. Also in Nhb. dial.Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 136:
Serpents, that wad stang The Hand that gi'es them Food.
Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 31:
He loot ane [arrow] fa', it stang't his fit.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Women's Minds iii.:
But for how lang the flie may stang, Let inclination law that.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems x.:
Whare stangin' serpents hiss.
Peb. 1817 R. Brown Comic Poems 172:
Like stirks whan stanged, on sweltry days.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian l.:
They are like wasps — they stang only them that fashes them.
Ayr. 1821 C. Lockhart Poems 49:
Shou'd typhus fever come amang us, . . . Or inflammation, hiddlens, stang us.
Sc. a.1834 Sc. Songs (Whitelaw 1844) 388:
Sair I pled, though fate, unfriendly, Stang'd my heart wi' waes and dules.
Rxb. 1871 R. Allan Poems 122:
It seem'd as if a venomous cleg Had stanged him.
Clc. 1885 J. Beveridge Poets Clc. 167:
That moorland pest, the stangin' ether.
Mry. 1888 J. McQueen Beauties 88:
It stang'd some like a thistle burr.
Ags. 1891 Brechin Advert. (6 Jan.) 3:
Nae nettles grew to stang their feet.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 22:
Tho' a' the flaes That e'er infestit Garfuird stang his bouk!
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Lowland Hills 50:
The hummin' bees that stangit sair.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alexander Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 70:
Sair heid frae here,
sair hert frae outbye thonder
- but whilk will stang
wi the shairper stob,
and whatten a stound
will laist the langer?
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 23:
"Feast yer een on the bonnie Tree
That bields ye frae the stangin heat.
Drink frae its leafs an ye'se be haill;
Be aye undeid gin its fruit ye eat.

2. intr. To shoot with pain, throb, ache, lit. and fig. (Sc. 1808 Jam., stank; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; I. and n.Sc., Per., Slg., Lnk., Wgt. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence stangin, an ache.Ayr. a.1875 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) III. 154:
The doctors pondered lang and sair, To rid me o' the stanging o't [love].
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden (1922) 120:
Afore it comes on to rain my joints are a' stoondin' an' stangin'.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (29 Oct.):
Hit's dis hollie yakle o' mine. Der been a staangin' intil him da hale day.

II. n. 1. (1) The sting of an insect, the ‘sting' or fang of a serpent (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also transf. the pipefish, Syngnathus acus (Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife (1803) 127); = stang-fish below (Mry. 1852 Zoologist X. 3457). In 1949 quot. applied opprobriously to a person. Plockit may be a corruption of Plucker.Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 130:
Fu' mony an arse his stang gaed thro' Like ony needle-point.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 207:
Wasps stickin a lang poisoned stang in just below your ee.
Abd. 1861 J. Davidson Poems 118:
I see a bummie leave its stang in Gordon Lillie's broo.
Dmf. 1874 R. Wanlock Moorland Rhymes 69:
Ilka word gaed through me like a stang.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (15 May) 477:
Cluds o' muskaetties, wi' stangs like lances.
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems 265:
Though I'd been stickit Wi' either sword or serpent's stang.
Kcd. 1900 W. MacGillivray Glengoyne II. 79:
He cud du onything amo' them [bees] an' nae ean wud put a stang in 'im.
Rs. 1949:
Ye plockit stang,'ar was thee?
Edb. 1965 J. K. Annand Sing it Aince 23:
I got a stang frae a big bumbee.

Comb. stangfish, the weever, Trachinus, esp. the lesser weever, Trachinus vipera (Cai. 1887 Harvie-Brown and Buckley Fauna Cai. 264; Kcb. 1902 J. H. Maxwell Guide to Kcb. 212; Cai. 1971).Bwk. 1838 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1885) 170:
Stangfish . . . Believed to inflict a venomed wound by its strong fin rays.

(2) the awn or beard of barley (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).

(3) in fig. senses: the capacity to injure in word or deed, a harsh or cutting remark (Sh., Abd. 1971).Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 273:
Scandal points her doubly forkit stangs.
Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 61:
But ne'er provoke the critic's stang.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 123:
May faes nae mair shoot out their stang.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 21:
Ye may fin' the bottle's stang Will pierce ye to the quick ere lang.
Lnk. 1922 Hamilton Advert. (2 Sept.):
The stang o' the gossips Drave her faur frae hame.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 29:
A thocht wi' a stang like a bee.
Rxb. 1961 W. Landless Penny Numbers 6:
Her words nae stang wad cairry.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 72:
Bewaur yon Sonnet-Goloch; a sair stang
he'll gie, gin ye're no tentie whan ye read;
his venim kills aw ither vairse stane-deid:
Rime Royal, Auchtfauld Rime an sempil sang
nae maitter hou ye scan thaim soond aw wrang.

2. The wound or stab caused by a sting, or some other sharp object (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Also fig. in dim. stangie, a jocular nickname for a tailor from the pricking of his needle. Phr. to get a stang, fig., to become pregnant (Slk. 1971), to take the stangs, to have a fit of passion (Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 155; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 18th c. Merry Muses (1911) 45:
But herryin' o' the foggy byke, I fear ye've got a stang, lassie.
Edb. 1839 W. McDowall Poems 118:
The stangie's done the best he can, To mak' it something like a man.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 76:
Upon his back a Bee sat doon a wee, Gied a bit stang an' wauk't the Sleeper.
em.Sc. 1920 J. Black Airtin' Hame 98:
Through the whins, the weary whins, Dreein' mony a stang.

3. A sharp sudden shooting pain such as that caused by a sting, lit. and fig., a pang (of pain, grief, remorse, etc.) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.w.Lth. 1768 W. Wilkie Fables 118:
A jibe leaves after it a stang.
Ayr. 1789 Burns To the Toothache i.:
My curse upon your venom'd stang, That shoots my tortur'd gums alang.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 76:
But, Oh! it gae my bosom mony a stang, Whan 'bout my Jean the fallows ran ding dang.
Edb. 1838 W. McDowall Poems 43:
The pleasures o' a private walk, Aft leave a stang behind.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 16:
My conscience yet gies me sair stangs when I think about her.
Bwk. 1879 W. Chisholm Poems 23:
Puir wee chap! the stangs o' pain Thro' the nights sae lang and drearie.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxxi.:
The Lord has taken away the stang of pain out of my life.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May):
Da stangs oot frae my yackle,'at wis fleein' troo my head.
Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 4:
The stang o' caller win' an' rain.
s.Sc. 1947 L. Derwent Clashmaclavers 112:
The eident tawse lies on the flair; They'll feel its dirlin' stang nae mair.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 26:
Oor wyes warna yours, we nivver vrocht
Wi net nor line
Nor guttin knife, nor fan on haggert thoom
The stang o the brine.

4. Fig. The sting of death. Cf. 1 Corinthians xv. 55–6.Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 183:
Took care to gar deaths Stang appear but a flae Byte.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 191:
Death, what's ado? the de'il be licket. Or wi' your stang, you ne'er had pricket.
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems 162:
Ere fell Death shot in his stang.

[O.Sc. stang, to sting, a.1400, a sting, 1420, sharp pain, 1513, Mid.Eng. stang, O.N. stanga, to prick, goad, gore, orig. an ablaut variant of sting. The n. is from the v.]

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"Stang v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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