A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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Nay, adv. and n. Also: ney. [ME. and e.m.E. nay, nai (13th c.), early ME. naȝȝ (Orm), næi, nei (12th c.), ON. nei, cognate with OE. (see Na adv.2 and adv.3).]

1. A word used in rejecting a suggestion or refusing a request, also for contradicting a statement or answering negatively a rhetorical question. ? As in e.m.E., used only when the suggestion etc. contradicted contained no negative word.

No. = Na adv.3 (1) Thane all … sad worthy war that he … suld welcum be, Bot the lady ȝet sad: Nay, Anis ȝet we wil assay [etc.]; Leg. S. iii. 1071.
The Erle sayd than debonarly, Nay, that is all to hard trewly; Wynt. viii. 5204.
Ib. vii. 1550.
Abyd! quod scho; Wy, nay! quod he; Peblis to Play 155.
Wallace him prayt, Cum fra ȝon sotheroun King. The Bruce said, Nay, thar lattis me a thing [etc.]; Wall. x. 604.
Ib. xi. 238.
Dunb. Flyt. 98 (M).
(2) Nay nay, said he, lat be thi sonȝe; Seven S. 1233.
Thow sall not sa away, … Trowis thow to chaip? Nay, nay! Rolland Seven S. 6412.
Nay, nay, not sa, my jois; Ib. 7581.
My maister ainis! quod I, ȝit is he so! Nay, nay, quod thay, he is with vs ago; 1570 Sat. P. x. 48.
(3) Bot to say that in all othir cas touchand the faith he suld do resoune I traist that nay, he may nocht do it; Hay I. 104/28.
As to the first sicht it semys that nay; Ib. 160/16.
To the quhilk he ansueris first that nay, he aw nocht to do it [etc.]; Ib. 199/17.
Ib. 120/15, 209/3, 246/13.

b. Or nay, = or not. (Only in Nisbet, after Purvey). — Is it leeffull that tribut be gevin to the emperour or nay [P. ether nay]; Nisbet Matthew xxii. 17.

2. To say nay. a. To make refusal, to express opposition or denial; to refuse to assent, oppose or deny (to or till a proposition, allegation, proposal or request). (1) Thai … mocht be naway get hyre … to consent to Quincyane Bot sad nay ay in ane; Leg. S. xlii. 72.
The marchandis sais at thair hustal has sondryt thair wynys, the mayster sais nay; Bute MS. 172.
Sum said to and sum fra, Sum na and sum ȝa; Howlat 271.
And gif the senescall wald say that [etc.] … I say nay; Hay I. 182/32.
Certaynly I say nay, and I sall prove that be the lawis; Ib. 228/9.
Ib. 236/18.
With anys ȝha amend thou may Thocht thow a thousand tymis say nay; Thewis Wysmen 182.
Ane bad pay, ane vther said nay; Peblis to Play 104.
Eith is defens to say nay or be dum; Doug. xi. Prol. 124.
I can not tell how thay did play Bot I beleue scho said not nay; Lynd. Meldrum 998.
Maitland Maitl. F. xviii. 53.
(2) As now we say notht nay thar-till; Troy-bk. i. 370.
To that I say nay, for sen [etc.]; Hay I. 154/7.

b. To make refusal (to) (til or with a person); to deny the request of, to refuse or turn away (a person). Also to say plat nay til, to refuse flatly. Bot scho plat nay ay sad hym til; Leg. S. xli. 120.
Gyf thai twa sais thé nocht bot nay, I pray thé vryth thi wyll away And gif dysspyt at vantone wyll That hop and resone sais na tyll; Ratis R. 1048.
Scho said nay With men that wald hir wed; Henr. III. 100/105.
I will nocht dennyit till nane that will by it For silver nane salbe said nay; a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlviii. 14.
Quhen I ane ballat till him bair He sonȝeit nocht nor said me nay; Stewart Maitl. F. lxxxii. 8.

c. Also hop I nay, ? I hope not, I would rather not (Hope v.). — Deme eit with me and drink gif that ȝe may. The gud wyf said meiklie, Hop I nay: It war mair tyme in to ȝour bed to be; Freiris Berw. 268 (M).

3. n. An utterance of the word ‘nay’; a negative answer, dissent, denial or refusal. Forout, withoutin, ony nay, without dispute, undeniably, assuredly, certainly, (also ME. (Cursor M.), and e.m.E.). This (that) is na (no) nay, It cannot be denied, undeniably (also ME. (Chaucer) and e.m.E.). To nik, neck, one with nay, to refuse one's request, see Nik v. (1) Nocht anerly be Cristine men That he is red thare-for, we kene, Bot be the Jow forout nay; Leg. S. xxxii. 13.
My natall land is Rome withowttin nay; Henr. Fab. 1371 (Bann.).
Quhilk sall cum vpoune the latter day Doun to this eirth withoutin ony nay; Stewart 15695.
(2) I haue appelit to ȝour presence … And till accus natur this is no nay; Howlat 113.
Heir is ryaltie … With all nobilnes anournit and that is na nay; Rauf C. 689.
Ane legioun … Folowit this quene trewlie this is no nay; K. Hart 138.
(3) Wysmen … Thar ȝha is ȝhai, thar nay is nay Thai wys thaim weill ore at thai say; Thewis Wysmen 173.
Lat ȝour talk be nay and ȝe Except ane juge do ȝow constraine To testifie the veritie; G. Ball. 8.
(4) Sum … That hes oft nay with grit labour; Dunb. xv. 37.
Thow ma mend twa nayis with anis said ȝe; Bann. MS. 135 a/42.
Gif ȝe delay and with ane ney me quyt; Bann. MS. 239 a/7.

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"Nay adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 May 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/nay_adv_n>

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