Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NERVISH, adj., n. Also nerwish (Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 14); nerv(i)es (Sh. 1899 Shetland News (4 March)); narvish (Lth. 1891 R. F. Hardy Tibby's Tryst 123).

I. adj. Nervous, excitable, easily agitated (Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 403; Slk. 1914 Southern Reporter (17 Dec.) 3; Uls. 1953 Traynor; n., m. and s.Sc. 1964). Dial. in Eng. Also adv. Sc. 1825  Wilson Foresters xii.:
I felt a little nervish and queer sometimes.
Slk. 1827  Hogg Shep. Cal. iv.:
Ye maunna laugh at it, dearie. . . . Maybe a nervish fever, wha kens.
Bwk. 1859  P. Landreth J. Spindle (1911) 62:
I saw his fingers workin' awa nervish at his bit cane.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
She was . . . understood to be “far frae stoot”; she was, indeed, “nervish”.
Ayr. 1889  H. Johnston Glenbuckie 260:
I have been getting real nervish of late.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 31:
I got akinda nervish.
Lth. 1925  C. P. Slater Marget Pow 75:
My grandmother was a terrible nervish woman; she was aye feared it was goin' to rain.
Bnff. 1939  J. M. Caie ' Twixt Hills and Sea 37:
Aftener a piece he's beggin' Or some nervish wifie fleggin'.

Hence nervishness, nervousness (Uls. 1953 Traynor; n., m. and s.Sc. 1964). Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin 192:
It had brocht on my mither a turn o' nervishness.
Abd. 1953  Scots Mag. (Nov.) 121:
I can gie ye a braw cure for nervishness.

II. n. With def. art.: an attack of nervousness, a fit of agitation or excitement (Sh. 1964). Sh. 1897  Shetland News (12 June, 23 Oct.):
He'll shurely no geng aboot da flüir i' da nervies laek a dumpest füle. . . . Dey speak o' tae geein' folk da nervies.

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"Nervish adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/nervish>

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