Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NETTLE-EARNEST, n.comb. Also yirnest, -yirrnist. Downright earnest, dead earnest (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., -yirnest: Uls. 1953 Traynor). Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiii.:
Ane canna speak a word but it is taen in nettle-earnest.
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 94:
Whenever it wad come to nettle earnest I wad . . . grip in wi' ma hands.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
They thoughts gar iz bang up bleithe again an buckle tui in nettle-yirrnist!

[From the wrong division of phr. in ettle earnest s.v. Ettle, n., 1.]

Nettle-earnest n. comb.

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"Nettle-earnest n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Apr 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/nettleearnest>

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