Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NILE, n., v. Also nyle (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (23 Jöne)), näil, and aphetic form ile-, from wrong division of a nile. [nəil, Cai. əil]

I. n. The plug in the nile-hole of a boat, the bilge-plug (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 154, 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1964). Comb. (n)ile-hol(e), a hole in the bottom strake of a boat for draining out bilge-water (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Cai. 1956, ile-; Sh. 1964, nile-). Sh. 1894  J. Nicolson Tales of Thule 65:
And still it gains, no more — no more a doubt, The nile — the nile is out.
Sh. 1899  Shetland News (11 Feb.):
I grövelled among da ooster an' da pilticks fil I fan da nyle.
Sh. 1918  T. Manson Peat Comm. 65:
Dey hed ta clew up and pit da nile in.
Sh. 1956  Shetland News (4 Dec.):
Boats would be upkummelled or their niles stolen.

II. v. To plug the nile-hole of a boat (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1964).

[Norw. dial. nygla, O.N. negla, a bilge-plug, Norw. dial. nygla, to plug a nile-hole, nyglehol, a nile-hole.]

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"Nile n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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