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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WRANG, adj., n., v. Also werang (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 62), warang (Peb. 1838 W. Welsh Poems 59); vrang (Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 117; m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 7; Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 90; Abd. 1956 People's Journal (28 Jan.) 2), vrong (Edb. 1826 Lockart Scott lxvi.). See V, letter, 3.(1), W, letter. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. wrong. [rɑŋ; ne.Sc.. ‡vrɑŋ]

I. adj. 1. (1) As in Eng. wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 58:
"Why whit's wrang wi' Matt?" asked David reasonably, screwing up his handsome brown face into a questioning look.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 7:
You're no feart! You ken better than mention
The words "auld" and "lady" in the wan braith
She'd say: you're nae chicken either, you're baith
The wrang side o' forty, ...
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 22:
He struck oot sooth. The lift gaed the wrang wey,
turned aff tae a side-road, syne intae a sma glen.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 44:
...Wi a fine bittie scandal, a touch o romance.
Faa care't fit wis Richt or fit Vrang?
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 81:
'Got tae have a reason,' said the guy. 'All I'm askin ye for's a reason. Is that so wrang?'

(2) in combs.: ¶(i) wrang-deedie, ill-doing, wicked. Cf. Ill-deedie; (ii) wrang-gaites, in the wrong direction, going the wrong way, against the sun. See Gate, n., 1.(2); ¶(iii) wrang-ganger, a transgressor, evil-doer; (iv) wrang spy, a children's game (see quot.). Cf. Hi-spy; (v) wrangways, wrongly, incorrectly, the contrary way (Sh., ne.Sc. 1974).(i) Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms cxxix. 4:
The rightous Lord, he sned the cord o' that wrang-deedie crew!
(ii) Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Pop. Ballads I. 210:
He's tied his steed to the kirk-stile, Syne wrang-gaites round the kirk gaed he.
(iii) Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms li. 13:
Wrang-gangers syne I sal airt yer ain gate.
(iv) Abd. 1938 Abd. Press & Jnl. (26 March) 6:
Wrang Spy was something similar. One boy remained in the dell, the others dispersed and hid, often changing bonnets or jackets. The boy in the dell, after counting up to a given number, set off to hunt. When he saw another boy he had to call his name. If the name was correct, both raced for the dell, and the last home had to hunt. If the name was wrong the cry of “Wrang spy” was raised and the discomfited searcher had to return to the dell while the boys hid again.
(v) Sc. 1826 The Moss-Troopers I. vi.:
Willie's faither aince, to misguide Percy, had a' the horses shoon set wrangways on.
Abd. 1970:
Ye've screwed it wrangweys on.

(3) in phrs. (i) on the wrang side o the blanket, — ¶sheet (Abd. 1877 G. MacDonald M. of Lossie iv.), out of wedlock, through illegitimacy. Gen.Sc.; (ii) the wrang side o the bannock, an inhospitable welcome, a meagre reception; (iii) to come wrang (to), to come amiss (to), to be out of place or unwelcome (for), to disconcert or put about, only in neg. expressions (Sh., n.Sc., em.Sc. (b), Lnk. 1974): (iv) to fa wrang (to or till), of a woman: to lose her virtue, be seduced (by) (Dmf. 1974); (v) to gae wrang, of food etc.: to go “off”, to decompose (I., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1974); (vi) to get the wrang soo by the lug, to be in error. See. Lug, n.1, 8.(13); (vii) to pit a fit wrang, in neg. sentences: to make a blunder or error in judgment or tactics. Gen.Sc.; (viii) to rise aff one's wrang side, to get up in a bad temper (Ayr. 1896 H. Johnston Dr Congalton xii.; I.Sc., Abd., Ags., Per. 1974). Cf. colloq. Eng. to get out of bed on the wrong side, id.; (ix) to tak (one) wrang, to come inopportunely to (a person), catch unprepared: (x) to say a wrang word, in neg. expressions: to use harsh, unjust or improper language (I.Sc., n.Sc., Per. 1974).(i) Sc. 1771 Smollett Humphrey Clinker (Jenkins-Jones 14 Oct.):
My mother was an honest woman. I didn't come on the wrong side of the blanket.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. ix.:
Frank Kennedy was a gentleman, though on the wrang side of the blanket.
Abd. 1930:
My loon's jist as weel to be seen as him tho he maybe wis gotten on the vrang side o the blanket.
(ii) Sc. 1896 L. Keith Indian Uncle i.:
Gin he's a freend o' oor Adam's, it's no the wrang side o' the bannock he'll get here.
(iii) Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 80:
Naething cam werang to Nelly; she was a'body's body.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 131:
For sin' our bridal day was set Nae woman-wark comes wrang to me.
(iv) Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 384:
If a lass ‘fa's wrang', she is seldom married till after she is a mother.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 431:
Whun it cam oot yt she had fa'en wrang till him, he bribet Paul tae mairy her aff his hands.
(v) Sc. 1882 J. Ogilvie Imperial Dict. s.v. Go, v. 18:
To go wrong, to become unsound, as meat, fruit, etc.
Abd. 1909 G. Greig Mains's Wooin' 52:
He's a corp! There's a stane gaun up till 'im in the kirkyaird. He's gaun wrang, fest.
(vi) Wgt. 1878 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 190:
Ye've got the wrang soo by the lug this time.
(viii) Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 268:
Ye hae sheerly risen aff yer vrang side this mornin'.
(ix) Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers vi.:
Thinkin' he was aboot to order a new suit frae me, “Weel, sir, ye can never tak' me wrang for that, except on the Sabbath day.”
(x) ne.Sc. 1973:
I never heard him say a wrang word til 'er or til onie ither bodie for that maitter.

2. Of a person, limb, etc.: crooked, deformed, misshapen, twisted, out of joint (Abd. 1974). Obs. in Eng.Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 84:
But let me up — my shuder's wrang, Nae wonder, wi' auld Samson's bang.
Abd. 1918 C. Murray Sough o' War 37:
Tell the ferrier o' the quake that's vrang aboot the legs.
Abd. 1957 G. S. Morris Bothy Ballads II. 31:
Robbie his a brither, he's vrang amun' the feet.

3. In regard to the senses: deranged, insane, ‘touched' (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1974); stupefied with drink. Rare and obs. in Eng. Freq. in phrs. wrang in the (one's) heid, — mind (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Comb. wrang-heided, id.Sc. c.1730 Memorials Family Row (Maidment 1828) 5:
She herself turning wrang in the head, was committed to Pauls Work in Edinburgh, where she dyed in June 1727.
Sc. 1753 Session Papers, Wallace v. Bannatyne, State of Process 29:
The People in the Neighbourhood did not chuse to contradict the said James Fawside, as they knew he was wrong in the Head.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 13:
This maid that was wrang in the mind.
Abd. 1848 J. D. Tough Short Narrative 6:
A short time after our arrival at Alva, Mr Baird went wrong in his mind.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 37:
They would almost go wrong-headed with bursts of laughter.
Abd. 1870 W. Buchanan Olden Days 120:
She wis wrang a' 'er days, an' wan'er't aboot the hail countra.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 44:
Lasses will laugh at yer havers, An' think ye are wrang in the head.
Bnff. 1893 W. Gregor Notes to Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 99:
He geed gey far vrang (or geed gey far by himsel') at the weddin', bit he made oot t' keep's feet.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 1:
In coorse o' time, A gaed wrang i' head like ither folk, an' took a man.
Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 40:
They blebbet there till baith their heids were wrang.

II. n. 1. Physical or material harm, damage, in 1767 quot. as from witchcraft. Rare and obs. in Eng.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 12:
Jean's paps wi' sa't and water washen clean, For fear her milk gat wrang fan it was green.
m.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 46:
And whether he was e'er amang The nigres wild? or e'er got wrang Frae bloody Turks?
Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 44:
Dinna dae the door-boards wrang.

2. A mistake, fault, error; an untruth. Phr. to say (a person) wrang, to speak ill of (someone) (I.Sc., Ags. 1974).Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 5 4:
Carkin' critics blind their ee'n Wi' seekin' wrangs.
Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 541:
Never wad I say ye wrang.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (21 Jan.):
Ony ane it luiks i' wir corn-yard can see if A'm sayin' a wrang.
Cai. 1932 Neil M. Gunn The Lost Glen (1985) 165:
'He was trying to be coorse,' explained Donald, 'because he knows he has the wrong of it. ... '

III. v. 1. As in Eng., to do wrong or injustice to. Agent n. wranger (Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 36). Phr. to wrang one's sell, to be guilty of falsehood or perjury (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

2. To cause physical harm or injury to, to damage, hurt (Sc. 1825 Jam.); to spoil (Ork., Ags., Per., Lth., Lnk. 1974).Gall. 1708–11 Session Rec. Penninghame (1933) I. 226, 299:
Alledging her neighbour had wronged her corn. . . . She only said if any body had wronged her cow.
Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 190:
To let Gun-powder wrang his Sight, Or Fidle-Hand.
Abd. c.1760 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 64:
Cauld nor hunger never dang her, Wind nor wet could niver wrang her.
Sc. 1793 R. Gray Poems 54:
A gude man loves his beast, And will not wrang him.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
We wadna hae shed a drap o' your blood, nor wranged a hair o' your head.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 49:
The laddies roared an' leuch till you wud actually thocht they wudda wranged themsel's.

Specif. to wrang one's pechan, — stamack, to disorder one's stomach, make oneself sick with eating improper or excessive food.Slk. 1807 Hogg Shepherd's Guide 43:
They are apt to wrong their stomachs by eating too freely of anything that comes their way.
Ayr. 1826 R. Hetrick Poems 92:
Is't 'cause some farmer's wranged his pechan At some drunk frolic?
Lnk. 1951 G. Rae Howe o' Braefoot 90:
You bairns hev daen nocht else but guzzle nits an' aipples, an' wrang yer stamacks.

3. To alter so as to falsify, to disarrange, put out of proper order or alignment, esp. of boundary-marks. Also in comb. vbl.n. wrang-dyking.Slk. 1707 Border Mag. (March 1939) 47:
One year the minutes report, “Nae wrang-dyking within their freedom.”
Rxb. 1717 Craig and Laing Hawick Tradition (1898) 161:
Gilbert Elliot in Windingtounridge, or one of his servants, had wranged the meiths and marches of the Common.

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"Wrang adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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