Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
NICK, n.2 As in colloq. Eng. = the Devil. Common in Sc. as Auld Nick (see Auld, 3.) and in dim. forms Nickie, Nick(e)y. Also an evil spirit, an imp, phs. confused with Eng. nix, a water-sprite.
Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 40:
Come nicks or hags, in front or rear, Be thou our stay. Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 81:
To cheat an' lie is just the trade They learn'd in Nicky's cellar. Sc. 1823 R. McChronicle Legends Scot. III. 97:
I thought that ye twa, Macseizin, had made a tryste ti gang ti Nickie thegither. Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Tales 255:
Auld Nickey . . . is aye kind till his ain.
Combs. and Phrs.: 1. ane ta Nickey, “devil a one”, not one; 2. his Nickship, a jocular form of address for the Devil; 3. Nickie-ben, Nicky-, -bend, a name for the Devil, apparently originated by Burns metri causa (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 447; Edb. 1839 W. McDowall Poems 53); a drubbing, trouncing, the devil to pay; 4. Nickie Blue-Thooms, id. (Abd.4 1930); 5. Nick's tar, ? pitch; 6. Nic(ky) Frog, a contemptuous term for a Dutchman as personifying Holland; 7. Nicky Tam, the Devil, found in an oyster-dredging song of the Firth of Forth.
1. Sh. 1898 Shetland News (21 May):
Fir my share, ane ta Nickey A'm seen yet at sood geng aroond me sae aisy. 2. Bch. 1861 J. Davidson Poems 97:
Sae down I sat upon a bush, According tul his Nickship's wush. 3. Ayr. 1786 Burns Address to the Deil xxi.:
But fare-ye-weel, Auld Nickie-Ben! O' wad ye tak a thought an' men'! Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 184:
Nicky, ben [sic] will some day skelp ye. Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 408:
Blind Milton had no mind to “Nickie-ben”. Lnk. 1884 P. Carmichael Cld. Poems 88:
Your prayer — that God defend Your Nannie frae Auld Nickybend. Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xxi.:
Come hame wi' the water this meenit, or ye shall get “Nickie Ben” frae your “Jo Janet”. Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 20:
“I'll name four reavers,” said the hen: “The whitrack's ane, the tod's anither, The rottan, an' auld Nickie-ben.” 5. Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 106:
Ouse-John, the master o' the pack, Thought fit to metamorphose Jack [a colt]; Then cramm'd his guts first wi' ram-brose, O' Nick's-tar neist he gae'm a dose. 6. Sc. 1712 J. Arbuthnot Works (1892) 268:
I left John Bull sitting between Nic. Frog and Lewis Baboon, with his arms akimbo, in great concern to keep Lewis and Nic. asunder. Ayr. 1812 A. Thom Amusements 19:
Duncan from the Nore, That made old Nicky Frog to roar. 7. m.Lth. 1963 Scotsman (3 Aug.) Suppl. 1:
But if we're lang, They [oysters]'re only use — For Nicky Tam.
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"Nick n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jan 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/nick_n2>
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