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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.

THRANG, n., adj., adv., v. Also I.Sc. form trang. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. throng. [θrɑŋ; I.Sc. trɑŋ]

I. n. 1. A large quantity or number (Bnff., Abd. 1972).Lnk. 1895 W. Stewart Lilts 42:
His auld farrant tales in innum'rable thrang Came lauchin'ly oot.
Abd. 1901 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (4 May):
He's made a throng o' siller, several thoosans they tal me.

2. (1) Pressure of work or business, a hectic period of bustle or activity, a busy time (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., m. and s.Sc. 1972). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1700 Fountainhall Decisions (1759) II. 86:
A stop was put to the throng of business [in the Court of Session] by that sad accident of the fire which broke out in Robertson's land on Saturday night.
Gall. 1716 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 365:
To delay the processes till the throng of the labour were over.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 81:
Ye canna get leave to thrive for thrang.
Ayr. 1782 Burns Chronicle (1935) 73:
It being the throng of Hervist.
Bwk. 1809 T. Donaldson Poems 159:
Your taylor's up to's ears i' thrang.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
They're a' at the thrang o' their Whig and Tory wark, and ca'ing ane anither, like unhanged black-guards.
Sc. 1841 Chambers's Jnl. (18 Sept.) 274:
She does fient-haet but maybe works a day in a thrang.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (16 Sept.):
When da trang o' shaerin comes, I faer we'll no win.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 94:
In the thrang frae morn till the sunset fa'.
Ags. 1923 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 12:
When I cam' hame wi' the thrang o' the years ahint me.

(2) a stir, surging motion, tumult.Gall. 1932 A. McCormick Galloway 48:
That's the bit they're lyin' in the day — richt in the thrang o' the water.

3. Close friendship, intimacy. Phr. to keep thrang wi, to keep company with.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 18:
It sets them well into our thrang to spy!
Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 46:
I that kens that Kenny's thrang and yours Grew when ye cud do nought but gather flowers.
Fif. 1843 A. Bethune Sc. Peasant's Fireside 78:
He keepit thrang wi' Jenny M'Intosh, his Landlady's daughter.

II. adj. 1. Crowded, pressed closely together; full, dense, well-packed (ne., m. and s.Sc. 1972). Obs. in Eng.Sc. 1764 R. Forbes Jnls. Visitations (Craven 1886) 26:
You had a pretty throng audience, as I hear.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 168:
Your rig stooks unco thrang.
Abd. 1863 G. MacDonald D. Elginbrod iv.:
Ill weather half the simmer, an' a thrang corn-yard after an' a'.
Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 6:
Settin, the meenlicht seems tae shakk the flooerin trees
Alang the river, thrang wi unquate thochts.

2. Crowded with people, fully attended or frequented, thronged (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 109, 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor Gl.; Sh., ne., m. and s.Sc. 1972). Also in Eng. dial.; with o(f), full of, crowded with. The thrangest o, the thick of.Sc. 1704 J. Clark Picture Present Generation 32:
The broad way to hell is thronger of Passengers, than the narrow way to Heaven.
Sc. 1708 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 61:
The meeting houses, which are as thrang as Edinburgh kirks.
Bwk. 1760 G. Ridpath Diary (S.H.S.) 346:
Went to W. Dickson's burial, the throngest that I have seen.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 162:
The daft and gleesome bands That fill Edina's street Sae thrang this day.
Cai. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 42:
It is always throng of scholars, and is taught by an excellent master.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 196:
The Cross-kirk too was just as thrang O' bangsters that did ither 'mang In hideous tulyie-mulyie.
Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 55:
In the thrangest o' the fun.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 91:
The kitchen flaer was ower thrang for the yin.
Rnf. 1923 G. Blake Mince Collop Close vii.:
This throng town of slated roofs.
Sc. 1969 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 119:
Whaur streets and stairs and closses were sae thrang.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 22 Apr 8:
The trouble is, the wilderness is always receding. Set aside the question of Lurcher's Gully, what about this week's revelation that the North Pole is so thrang with international expeditions that departures are having to be staggered so that explorers don't tangle with each other on the way?
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 190:
'When we finally stopped we were at a place called Saint Nazaire. The beach was thrang wi' men dodging machine-gun bullets. I heard big gunfire, and noticed that it was coming from a ship, a British ship. ... '
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 15:
Thrang athout nummer aw his angels
Upon the King fix fast their ee,
Aye wullin tae obey his wurd
An wi it tae the faur airts flee.
Dundee 2000 Ellie McDonald Pathfinder 10:
The road's aye thrang wi fowk
but whaur I staun
is a scunneration tae me

Hence (1) thick-thrang, very crowded; (2) thrangity, n., a bustling crowd, a press of people (w.Lth. 1948; Per., Slg. 1972); (3) thrangly, adv., densely, in crowds; (4) thrangness, n., a crowded condition.(1) e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 36:
Owre wintry roads, for mony a mile Thick-thrang wi' maist a' classes Gaun lowse this day!
(2) Gsw. 1934 D. Allan Hunger March i. i.:
There was to be a great demonstration in the Square to-day. That'll mean a terrible thrangity in the town.
(3) Lnk. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (3 June) 4:
This day being our Whitsun-Friday fair, and the weather being favourable, it was throngly attended.
(4) Sc. 1727 Six Saints (Fleming 1901) I. 316:
Eight-score and eight of us were driven into one vault; and yet I never saw throngness nor irons marr any from writing.

3. Numerous, in crowds, in a dense press (m.Sc. 1972).Sc. 1722 W. Hamilton Wallace i. iii.:
His dagger with the other Hand drew out, In spite of all his Men so throng about.
Sc. 1746 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) I. 345:
Being informed that one Campbell had gathered a throng herdship of cattle.
Sc. 1763 in R. Kirk Secret Commonwealth (1815) App. 94:
He saw a throng Company, with a Corpse on a Bier.
Ags. 1928 A. Gray Gossip 32:
His Mercies — they were aye that thrang.

4. Of times, seasons, places, occupations, etc.: busy, full of work, having plenty to do, busily occupied. Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.; of work; pressing, urgent. Hence thrangness, a busy state, stress, thrangsome, busy, hard pressed with work, the thrangest, the most urgent moment.Sc. 1705 J. Maidment Analecta (1834) I. 238:
The presses are thronger than ordinary.
Gall. 1723 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 420:
In regard of the distance and throngness of labour he is delayed to the next.
Abd. 1729 Skene's Account (Third S.C. Misc.) II. 147:
Logings for the two throng seasons.
Edb. 1783 Session Papers, Mason v. Thomson (17 June) 6:
Saturdays, being generally a throng day with grocers.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
When we were at the thrangest o' our bargain.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) ii.:
This will be a thrang day w'ye. How are ye getting on wi' the clipping?
wm.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Report ii. I. 28, i.8:
The business [calico-pointing] is necessarily of a fluctuating nature, subject to great “throngness” at one time and a corresponding slackness at others. . . . It is only “them as has the throng work” that are ordered to do this.
Gsw. 1879 A. G. Murdoch Rhymes 63:
Like a thrangsome smiddy, At over-hours.
Uls. 1898 A. McIlroy Auld Meeting-Hoose Green 53:
The owertime money a' earn't that year the mill wus sae thrang.
Arg. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days v.:
There's to be throng times in this house now.
Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 320:
An' no expect tae hear frae him When wark is thrang.
Rxb. 1961 W. Landles Penny Numbers 10:
The inn was thrang wi' singin'.

5. Of persons (or animals): fully employed in any task or affair, actively and pressingly occupied in work, busy (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., trang; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor). With at, †o', wi'. Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Deriv. ¶thrangie, id. (Abd. 1925 R. L. Cassie Gangrel Muse 12).Ayr. 1717 H. Tayler Seven Sons (1949) 89:
You may guess who was a thrang man that day.
Fif. 1736 D. Beveridge Culross (1885) II. 119:
He could not attend this day, they being very throng with the harvest.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 147–8:
Aiblins thrang a parliamentin', For Britain's guid his saul indentin'.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 108:
I right thrang this while hae been.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 188:
“Ye're thrang at your beuk,” quo' I.
Rnf. 1842 Children in Mines Report II. 359:
He has never paid “his passage-money” — i.e. a fine for using the engine when they are throng of work.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 31:
A thochtless body's aye thrang.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 38:
Thrang bodies in ilka trade makin siller.
Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 143:
My prentit books I'm thrang revisin'.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 21:
The wifie was thrang wi' the coggin' o' caur.
Sh. 1931 Sh. Almanac 196:
I hear ye're trang coortin'.
Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde 1st Bk. of the McFlannels ii.:
Sarah was so thrang that even her children steered clear of her.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 17:
Auld Dod's ae loon, Francie, ... wis sturdy an gleg wi machinery, sae wis keepit thrang mindin the muckle combine an the three tractors that hottered and birred alang the rigs in sizzen.
Edb. 2004:
Ah'm fell thrang in this joab. Ah've goat tae mind oan that mony things.

Hence ¶(1) thrangerie, n., a bustle, stir; (2) thrang-hauden, busy, occupied closely with a task; (3) t(h)rangity, -atie, -etty, n., busyness, stress of work, pressure of business (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Gsw. 1912 Scotsman (9 Jan.); Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 273), bustle, stir, commotion (Per., Slg. 1972).(1) Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail l.:
She has such a heart for a thrangerie butt and ben, that, rather than want work, she'll mak a baby of the beetle, and dance till't.
(2) Dmf. 1905 J. L. Waugh Thornhill 243:
The wife's no wi' me, Maggie, but she's gey thrang-haudden the noo.
Dmf.7 1929:
He is unco thrang-hauden wi the sawin.
(3) wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 55:
There was sic a thrangity i' the house, butt and ben, that I scarcely kent whiles whether my head was on my ain shouthers.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 219:
In 'e thrangetty when Stair gaed awa.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 159:
Deeved wi' the thrangity o' Lunnon toun.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 183:
Sic a trangity an bussle.
Rxb. 1961 W. Landles Penny Numbers 27:
The thrangity o' life pit off for ever.

6. (1) Intimately associated, familiar, friendly (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 109; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh., Abd., em., sm. and s.Sc. 1972; Sh., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). Hence thrangity, intimacy, familiarity, friendliness.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 21:
Lindy an' she I hear are unko thrang.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 136:
Hame we scour'd fu' cheery and fu' thrang.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xviii.:
She was leed on if she wasna thranger wi' a Captain Gorget.
Ags. 1893 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) XV. 342:
What aboot our merchants noo, sae lang in opposition? There's naething noo but thrangity.
Fif. 1898 S. Tytler Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses v.:
The mistress had an inkling the maid was thrang with Harry Wedderburn.
Ags. 1929 Scots Mag. (July) 310:
Some fowks micht think it gey odd that Miss Monteagle wis thrang wi' us.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 137:
'You're getting gey thrang the two o' ye. I hope ye ken what yer daein'.'
Abd. 1993:
He's gey thrang wi e blon' up e road.
Edb. 2004:
Ma laddie's richt thrang wi a lassie fae Meedie bank.

(2) with after, for: keen about (a person of the opposite sex), fond of (Ork. 1972).Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 319:
I'se wirran sheu waas trang aneuch for 'im bit made adeu 'at she dudna mind a preen.
Ork. 1931 Orcadian (7 May):
'E waas trang after Divity's deigh.

III. adv. 1. In large numbers, closely and frequently, in a crowded condition. Compar. thranger.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 172, 187:
At Night if Beds be o'er thrang laid And thou be twin'd of thine . . . When strangers landed now sae thrang Fuffing an peghing he wad gang.
Sc. 1776 Weaver's Index 90:
The Cloath that is made of the same Grist of yarn both Warp and Waft, and takes as much Waft as Warp, will sink about a twentieth Part: and when it is thronger caamed, or coarser wafted, or thinner wrought, it will sink proportionately less.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 131:
Sic joyous nights come nae sae thrang, That I sae sune sou'd haste awa'.
Ayr. 1845 J. Ramsay Woodnotes 52:
Now folk sped thranger to the race Than e'er to kirk on Sunday.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 213:
The words came sae thrang that they chok'd her amaist.
Gall. 1870 Bards Gall. (Harper 1889) 161:
Hoo the visions o' young days come croodin' sae thrang.

2. Busily, assiduously.Ayr. 1786 Burns Dream ii.:
I see ye're complimented thrang By mony a lord an' lady.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 26:
The farmer's wives are bakin thrang.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems 89:
There sat my granny spinnin' thrang.
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace 30:
Ay, here they come, thrang warstlin' up the brae Like sheep in single file.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 157:
I sees some men aa wirkin trang Abune da green banks' broo.

IV. v. As in Eng. to crowd, press in large numbers, etc.; to burden with work, only in ppl.adj. thronged, busily occupied, stressed with work, = II. 5.Sc. 1700 R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 130:
Knouing you are considerably thronged, for all the solitude you complean of.
Ags. 1706 W. M. Inglis Angus Par. (1904) 42:
His Lordship, being thronged with business, desired them to come to Auchterhouse.
Sc. 1791 Isabella Wilson in Memoir (1825) 36:
We have had a thronged time with our harvest.

[O.Sc. thrang, trouble, straits, a press or crowd, 1375, stress of work, 1684, crowded, in a mass, 1535, busy, 1568, Mid.Eng. þrong, north. þrang, O.E. ȝeþrang, a crowd, O.N. þrǫng, id., þrǫngr, narrow, crowded.]

Thrang n., adj., adv., v.

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"Thrang n., adj., adv., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2023 <>



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