Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NEAR, adv., prep., adj. Also nere, neer-. Compar. neard(h)er (Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xxxiv.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, Ayr., Gall., Uls. 1963); superl. neard(h)est (Traynor), nearmost (ne., m. and s.Sc.). Sc. forms and usages. See also Nar. [′niər; em.Sc.(a), sm.Sc. ner]

I. adv., prep. 1. As in Eng. Deriv. nearlins, neir-, nearly, almost (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Sh., Abd. 1963). Also in n.Eng. dial. Ayr. 1790  J. Fisher Poems 146:
[She] glow'rd, an' shook, as she cam' ben, An' very nearlins fainted.
Sc. 1815  Poems in Sc. Dialect 15:
But fareweel, Pate, I'm nearlins through.
Abd. 1921  Swatches o' Hamespun 9:
A ploy that nearlins smoret the goupen.

Sc. combs. and Phrs.: (1) nearabout, prep., near, close to; adv. (also nearabouts), nearly, almost, by and large. Gen.Sc.; (2) near-be [ < nearby] -g(y)aun (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvi.), -gawn, -ga(a)n, -g(j)aain (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.), -gaean (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch Bk. 221), -gaein (Sh. 1924 T. Manson Peat Comm. III. 99), -gone (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1953 Traynor), neer-, -begun, -bigyaun, miserly, greedy, close-fisted (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb. 1900; Sh., Ork., Cai., ne. Sc., Fif., Slk. 1963). See (5) and (6). Hence near-b'gyaunness, stinginess; (3) nearbehadden, id. (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); ‡(4) near-b'hand, id. (Abd. 1963). Cf. Nearhand; (5) nearby, also nearbe, as in (2), (3) and (4), (i) adv., close at hand, near; (ii) nearly, almost); (iii) prep., close to, beside. All Gen.Sc.; (iv) as an adj., close at hand, neighbouring; (6) near-gaun, -gaw(i)n, = (2) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Proverbs 7; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I. and n.Sc., Slk. 1963) [cf. Norw. dial. nœrgangande, id.]. Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence near-goingness, greed, close-fistedness, parsimony; (7) near geddert, gathered in a mean or avaricious manner (Abd. 1963); (8) near oneself, = (6) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, Uls. 1963); (9) near the bane, -been, id. (Sc. 1880 Jam.; e.Lth. 1930; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.; (10) near the bit, id. (Lnk. 1919 T.S.D.C.; wm.Sc., Kcb. 1963); †(11) to go one near, to affect closely or deeply. Obs. in Eng.; (12) to look near, to approach, visit, pay attention to, take an interest in (ne.Sc. 1963). See Leuk. (1) Ayr. a.1878  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 357:
A towmond nearabout has run Sin' last we saw thy face, man.
Ayr.  11910:
I'm nearaboot finished. — I was nearaboot deed wi caul.
Abd. 1960 27 :
Three fit sax near or nearabout.
(2) Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems II. 158:
He's sic a hard, near-be-gawn miser.
Fif. 1830  A. Stewart Dunfermline (1889) 143:
Ye auld near-be-gaun jade, an' ye'll no let him howk a wee pickle tatties for a puir auld body like me!
Ayr. 1834  Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 249:
Many that were thought of ne'er-begun dispositions shed a tear when it was reported that she had been so destitute.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
It's a gweed thing fan near-b'gyaunness an' gentility rins thegither.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 60:
Sheu wus a nabal, near-bega'n skrunt.
Sh. 1949  New Shetlander No. 19. 43:
He wis is nearbegaain is wan could fin.
(4) Abd. 1941  C. Gavin Black Milestone xiii.:
The French was awfu' near-b'hand, and socht a twa-three bawbees afore they would verilys gie ye a drink o' watter.
(5) (i) Sc. 1728  Six Saints (Fleming 1901) I. 34:
The preaching was near-by, for we heard the Psalms sweetly sung.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 228:
A farmer who lived near by.
(ii) Sc. 1815  Scott Guy M. xlv.:
After a trot o' sixty mile, or near by.
Edb. 1822  R. Wilson Poems 82:
'Tis fourscore winters nearbye now, Sin' I first follow'd up the plew.
(iii) Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Poet. Wks. 18:
Oh! never saw thy wil'-kail seed Near by the poet's houseless head.
(iv) Abd. 1858  G. Macdonald Phantastes (1870) 120:
The cows in a near-by field were eating.
(6) Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 157:
Shall Man, a niggard, near-gawn elf! Rin to the tether's end for pelf.
Abd. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 25:
But peevish neargawin wights an' cunnin, An' for the maist part bent on winnin.
Crm. 1854  H. Miller My Schools xi.:
The blasted old sinner, after a' his neargoingness wi' them, was now but a dyvour bankrupt.
Sc. 1938  M. Innes Lament 13:
Folk hated his very name, he was that near-going.
(7) Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 203:
Fin the young fowk nooadays wun in amon' near geddert siller they fairly gie't a spread.
(8) Sc. 1814  C. I. Johnstone Saxon and Gael III. v.:
I'm no a man that's near mysel'; the wealth he has seen it meet in his providence to bestow on me, I wad like to use in moderation.
(9) Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 117:
He's unco near the bane, wi' a' thing it he gees.
Abd. 1929  J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 11:
The folk o' Aiberdeen are a' byous near the been.
(11) Sh. 1912  J. Nicolson Hame-Spun 57:
It's dis hosiery 'at's goin' me near.

2. Nearer. Obs. in Eng. from 16th c. Sc. c.1829  Lord Thomas in
Child Ballads No. 73 F. 37:
And ay at every year's ane They grew them near and near.

3. Nearly, almost. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Abd. 1758  Session Papers, Grant v. Farquharson (4 Aug.) 15:
Haddo's own Tenants, who could not near drink the Ale of a Boll.
Lth. 1856  M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xl.:
There very near was a quarrel between them.
Sc. 1887  Jam.:
He near missed it: aye, gae near.
Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums vi.:
I was near daft wi' fear.
Kcb. 1893  Crockett Stickit Minister 254:
She has been troubled wi' a kin o' dwaminess in her inside for near three weeks.
Rnf. 1928  G. Blake Paper Money 42:
“Ye've taken that house?” “Taken it? I very near bought it!”

4. Narrowly, only just (Sh., Ags., Ayr., Kcb. 1963). Obs. in Eng. from 16th c. Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 67:
Acquentin' him 'tween ilka gabbot, How near he 'scape't frae bein' stabbit.

II. adj. 1. Phrs. and Comb.: (1) as near, nearly of the same degree or quality, near enough (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Kcb. 1963); (2) at the nearest, by the shortest or quickest way (ne.Sc., Ags., Arg. 1963); (3) at the near hand, see Hand, n., 8. (9); (4) near cut, a short cut, a quick or more direct way (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc., now obsol. in Eng. To take the near cut of one, to cheat (Traynor). (1) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 40:
Gin it be sae, ye's be provided here. With may be nae sae gueed, but yet as near.
(2) ne.Sc. 1746  Origins '45 (S.H.S.) 159:
Never going a yard out of the way for a bridge or any burn they met with, but wading through at the nearest.
m.Lth. 1783  Session Papers, Petition Lady Greenwich (5 March) Proof 11:
People passing that way had to go through the fields at the nearest.
Slk. 1835  Hogg Tales (1874) 541:
Lady Jane called me up to her, and asked me if we could pass over to the chapel on the hill at the nearest.
Abd. 1961  Buchan Observer (14 March):
Oh, I cam' throu' at the nearest or I micht ha'e cried in aboot for ye.
(4) Slg. 1756  Session Papers, Buchanan v. Loch (16 Dec.) 15:
People went through his Possession at Keppoch Glin, as a near Cut to the Glins.
Ayr. 1833  J. Kennedy G. Chalmers 196:
Boot-gaits are taiglesome, and near-cuts are seldom clean.
Rxb. 1881  Border Counties Mag. II. 126:
I tuik a near cut masel' to strike the Dean.
Ags. 1890  A. Simpson Muirside Mem. 146:
Crossing the plank that makes a near cut to the smiddy.
Abd. 1914  J. Cranna Fraserburgh 66:
The postrunner . . . would gravitate to the links for “a near cut.”

[O.Sc. has neir, nearly, from 1641.]

Near adv., prep., adj.

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"Near adv., prep., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Mar 2019 <>



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