adj., adv.

'oppressively, closely'

(Modern English )


This adj. (used here adverbially) is formed on the same root *þrangw- as the n., which is taken from the ablaut series of the common Gmc v. < PGmc *þringwan- (cp. OE þringan, OS thringan, OHG dringan, ON þryngva). Formally, the adj. could easily be explained as native: OE has a n. geþrang (securely attested only in The Battle of Maldon) on which the ME adj. could have been derived (thus MED, OED2), cp. the shortened ME þrang, þrong. Alternatively, the source could be the ON adj. represented by OIcel þrǫngr 'close, tight' (preferred by OED3). The revelant sense of the n. (OED sense 1 'oppression', MED sense (c)) and the adj. appear around the same time, and the adj. especially is notably N in distribution (see Attestation).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

þrǫngr 'close, tight'
(ONP þrǫngr (adj.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

Far. trongur, Icel. þröngur, Norw trong, Sw. trång, Dan. trang

OE Cognate

geþrang (n.)

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



The adj. (and adv.) þrang(e) is relatively unusual in ME, with a markedly N distribution (see MED, OED). Both appear in literary texts from the late 14c. or early 15c. A Cumbrian place-name Thragholm may also represent this adj. (see MED, EPNE). The n. in the relevant sense first occurs in a1400(a1325) Cursor (Vsp A.3).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

Pe 17


MED þrong (adv.) , MED throng (adj.) , OED throng (adj. and adv.) , de Vries þrong, Mag. þröngur, Orel *þranʒwaz, Heid. þrangwa, EPNE þrǫngr