Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GNIB, adj. Also knib (Sh.). [gnɪb, kn-]

1. Quick in action or speech (Abd.6 1910; Abd.27 1930; Sh.10 1954, knib(by)), sharp, smart, eager. Sometimes used in a derogatory sense. Also used adv. Compar. gnibber. Cf. Knibble. Abd. 1748  R. Forbes Ajax 15:
An' wi mischief he was sae gnib, To get his ill intent.
Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings 16:
The mair we drank, we grew the gnibber.
Bnff. 1853  Banffshire Jnl. (21 June):
Thus we may drive to Aberdeen, As gnib as drive a nail aye.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 67:
He's unco gnib; it wiz only yesterday a got the len o't.
Abd. 1900  E.D.D.:
“Ye're rael gnib,” said of one that seeks settlement of an account before it is due.

2. Light-fingered (Sc. 1808 Jam.); greedy, grasping (Mearns 5 1944).

3. Short-tempered (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 67).

[Orig. imit. of snapping action or noise: cf. Knip, n.2, Gnip; Knibble.]

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"Gnib adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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