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

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Nicht, n. Also: nycht(e, nytht, nytcht, night, nyght, nich, nych, nyt(e, nynt; necht, netht, neicht, neycht, neight(e, nette; naycht. [ME. niht, nyht, nyȝt, nyth, ME. and e.m.E. night(e, nyght(e, OE. niht.] Night; a night.

1. Night, as the time of darkness between sunset and sunrise. The King … ilk nycht him-selwyn wouk And his rest apon daiis touk; Barb. ii. 552.
Quhether that it was nicht or day; Alex. ii. 1898.
Wytht-in that yle is ythand nycht; Wynt. i. 1407.
Ib. V. Prol. 50.
Scho knew … the cause of the schorting and lenthing of the dais and the nychtis; Hay II. 108/2.
With … incredibill blythtnes … thai draif the nycht to end; Boece v. ii. 167.
Compl. 155/25.
The first mes to be said in the myddis of the nycht; Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 176/2.
Scho … turnit day in nycht and nycht in day; 1570 Sat. P. x. 127.
To mak warning of the tyme of nycht; 1613 Haddington B. Rec. 10 Feb.
Let them waitch every neight [etc.]; 1676 Dunbar Social Life I. 293.

b. With reference to the onset of darkness or close of day; nightfall. With that the nycht come; Leg. S. xxvii. 1389.
And wroucht … to the nycht; Hay II. 60/15.
Ner-hand the nycht thai lychtyt apon Clyd; Wall. v. 1068.
Quhen it drew to the dirk nycht; Gol. & Gaw. 228.
Thought I haif cair … the cleir day quhill nyght; Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 470.
Id. lxxxi. 45.
Wile ȝe bide quhile yt be neycht; 1510 Aberd. Univ. Review XXXVI. 47.
Scho draif the day vnto the nicht; Wyf Awcht. 101.
Eftir the nycht fell; 1556–7 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 205.
In the glowming of the nicht; 1590 Reg. Privy C. IV. 545.

c. With adjs. and descriptive expressions, and in comparisons also, transf. and fig., esp. with allusion to the darkness of night. See also Mirk a. 1(1) and Gude nicht n. (1) Makyne, the nicht is soft and dry; Henr. Robene & Makyne 97.
Quhen that the nycht was dym; Wall. vi. 815.
A farer nycht my self saw nane; Seven S. 2040.
Apon the midsumer ewin, mirriest of nichtis; Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 1.
The lang winter nicht; Ib. 77.
Thus sayand, scho hir hyd in the cloys nycht; Doug. ii. x. 109.
The vgsumnes and silens of the nycht; Ib. xi. 124.
My walkrife nichtis; Bell. Boece I. civ.
In moneles nichtis it is na mowis; 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvi. 23.
At ony time in winter nicht; Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 155.
He himself lay out … the rest of that wynter nycht uncoverit; 1629 Justiciary Cases I. 105.
That nicht being a drakie nycht; 1650 Nicoll Diary 27.
(2) The day wox dirk as ony nicht; Dunb. lxxii. 85.
(3) The profond pot of deth and dyrk nycht; Doug. iv. i. 53.
O Christ … The clude of nycht thow dryuis away; G. Ball. 173.
I doubt if upon the back of such a lightsome day there was ever a blacker night; Shields Hind Let Loose 147.

2. Used, esp. with numerals, as a unit of time. (1) And thre nichttis he saw [etc.]; Leg. S. ii. 356.
So … four dayis thai past And four nycht thar-to but hone; Troy-bk. ii. 1701.
Alex. ii. 1357.
Bot a day and ane nycht; Hay I. 289/25.
All at God made on sex dayis and sewin nycht; 1492 Sc. Ant. VI. 24.
For a nicht to byd; Dunb. xxxiii. 34.
Len me a fourteyn nycht; Doug. xiii. Prol. 143.
Mony nychtis; Bell. Boece (M) I. 357.
Ilk hors on the nycht 1 pec aitis; 1531 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 64.
During auch dais and auch nychis; 1545 Elgin Rec. I. 85.
Ane hard heid the hors in the nycht; 15.. Aberd. B. Rec. MS. (Jam.).
Quhair she lay the nychtis preceding; 1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I. 537.
The nycht 3 s.; 1575 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 658/1.
Nightis; Pitsc. I. 337/20.
Quha delt with you tua nychtis; 1616 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 189.
They being ther 2 nytchtis; 1618 Linlithgow Palace 340.
To haue beine ane nicht with him in his howss; 1627 Black Bk. Taymouth 384.
(2) proverb For wonder lestis bot nyne nycht into toun; Stewart 33590.
Carmichael Prov. No. 1656.

3. Denoting an occasion or point of time. (1) Hapnyt hyme a nycht to ly Eftyre his trawale ful wery; Leg. S. xix. 219.
Wynt. vi. 1857.
Anothir nych ii galon off ale to hors wachys that rade; 1429 Ayr. B. Ct. 121 b (14 June).
And ay in seiking certayne nyghtis … with our sillie wychtis; 1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 375.
(2) Euerie ilk man his nycht about; 1525 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 112.
That all … inhabitaris of clossis furnis … lanternis thair nycht about; 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 205.
Ilk nicht half ane quarter of the said toun for the said watch; 1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 15.

b. Used with demonstr. adj. or defining term to indicate the evening or night of a particular occasion or date. Also mornes nicht, Morn(e n. 6 c, Ȝister nicht, etc. (1) That ilk nycht writyn war Thair endenturis; Barb. i. 512.
Ib. ii. 300; etc.
Gyf I consawyt haf this nycht A knafe barne; Leg. S. xii. 30.
Ib. xxxii. 211.
That nycht; Wynt. iii. 327.
This Decius had for that a nycht Wyth-in that cyte tan herbry; Ib. v. 2180.
Ib. iv. 2662; etc.
To the wache the ferst nich that the Tarbart vas castyn douin; 1428 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXI. 143.
Sayand that nicht at the lest The child suld leif at thair request; Seven S. 273.
The samyn nycht to the lady; 1501 Treas. Acc. II. 125.
1508 Ib. IV. 116.
Musing allone this hinder nicht; Dunb. xviii. 1.
For ryngan of the belis that nycht the prens was borne; 1507 Lanark B. Rec. 18.
Al this day and nicht bygane my mind … is aflocht; Bell. Boece II. 122.
The heland men es gaderet to hare mi land an of ther twa nettes; 1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 49.
Lat this ane nicht ouirgang; Rolland Seven S. 1366.
This nyt I tuk doune thar wagis; 1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 121.
To dance that nycht they said sho sould not slak; 1567 Sat. P. iii. 69.
Meikill of the day and all that nycht; Pitsc. I. 274/19.
Ye said that nycht ye vald pas and vise [etc.]; 1594 Misc. Spald. C. II. 124.
This nycht past; 1596 P. McNeill Prestonpans (1902) 41.
St. Androwis is lukit for this nyte weke; 1612 Maxwell Mem. II. 60.
Nov. 11th … Ane candill to be givin to the hers this nicht, and fra this furth, and the nichtis of catechising four candill; 1614 Elgin Rec. II. 140.
In the nycht of his away passing; Hist. Jas. VI. 381.
That nycht; 1623 Crim. Trials III. 549.
The King … stayit that nicht in Seytoun; Spalding I. 41.
And this nyt he hes bein very seike; 1658 Bk. Old Edinb. C. IV. 127.
A company of leud … persons did the last night make ane infall upon this burgh; 1681 Lanark B. Rec. 205.
(2) Apon Saynct Jhonys nycht; Barb. xiii. 491 (E).
Betuix none of the day and Ȝule nicht; Rauf C. 342.
Off Februar the fyiftene nycht; Dunb. xxvi. 1.
In the nycht of the natiuite of oure Salueour; Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 175/33.
The said Nicoll hes bund & obleist him to play & stryke throw this toun … the Kingis nychts viz. the fyft of August & fyft day of November ȝeirlie; 1613 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 10 Feb.
On Satterdays night; 1694 Seafield Corr. 144.

c. The nicht, tonight, this night. Also To-nicht. See also Morn(e n. 7 b for further examples. Your selff sall fyrst his blyssyng tak for me: For sekyrly ye seruit it best the nycht; Wall. vii. 551.

4. In the possessive, in various prec. senses. See also Lair n.1 2, 3 for further examples. (1) In the nyghtis rest; Doug. xii. xiv. 53.
Rolland Seven S. 645.
Scott xx. 52.
Ȝour la. nychtis reste or sleip; Rules of Health.
1584 Acts III. 305/1.
(2) Anent the talkyng of ane nychtis meyt fra [etc.]; 1549 Black Bk. Taymouth 188.
Synthea, the hornit nychtis quene; Lynd. Mon. 153.
Of my nichtis dreame; Rolland Seven S. 3754.
Weryit with the dayis travell and the nichtis watching; Buch. Detect. (1727) 78.
1 nyghtis wattill … 4 nyghtis wattill; 1628 Goudie Shetl. Antiq. 181.
Then there's Lord Constable with his nights crue Of frozen bussards; 1633 Lithgow Poet. Rem. 112.
Awand … a nights meit to himselfe and his family; 1674 Rothesay B. Rec. 324.

5. In adverbial phrases. Day and nicht, nicht and day, = always, continually: see also Day n.1 1 b. Nicht (n)or day, by night (n)or day, (n)ever. Cf. also 3 b, c. (1) Goddis angele … That kepis me bath nycht & day; Leg. S. xli. 152.
Wynt. i. 214.
Sum men sesis neuir to labour nycht nor day; Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 223.
Both nicht and day; K. Hart 354.
Dunb. xiv. 7.
I laubyr nycht and day; Compl. 123/12.
Lynd. Meldrum 81.
Rolland Seven S. 2964.
Bot nycht and day mon he nocht tyre; a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvi. 47.
Pitsc. I. 4/6.
That hellpit to keep the schip naycht and day; 1601 Dundee Shipping P. 70.
Neicht; 1602 Ib. 73.
Letteris, nicht and day, cuming fra the prouest and balleis of Abirdein; Spalding I. 277.
(2) Seruand hyme bath day & nychtis; Leg. S. Prol. 102.
I pray Thé … Thow helpe me … dais and nychtis; Arundel MS. 241/116.
Panceand in His lawis day and nycht; Winȝet I. 11/24.
(3) Thar all nycht stone-still he lay; Troy-bk. ii. 1757.
The hoste thame restit all the nicht; Alex. ii. 337.
Thair he bad all nicht; Bk. Chess 556.
Al nycht and day; Doug. v. xiii. 10.
All the lait nycht; Ib. vi. xvi. 34.
All nicht; Bell. Boece II. 427.
All nycht lang or the tother morne; Stewart 1406.
Lynd. Meldrum 1085.
All the nicht lang; Buch. Detect. (1727) 69.
That had ridin all the nyght; Pitsc. II. 37/8.
Besyde his lying all nyt in prissoun; 1627 Dumbarton B. Rec. 13.
(4) The beimes of the sone … the hail nychte ar sein; Dalr. I. 5/24.
Thair horssis … lyes amongst the saidis cornes haill nights; 1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 96.

6. In prepositional phrases. a. In sing. without article. b. In plur. c. With demonstr. or article. d. In various other phrases. a. (1) A hundre syis one day kneland & als oft one nychte prayand; Leg. S. ix. 60.
Als well one nytht as one the day; Troy-bk. i. 454.
Gif thai come thar vpon nycht; Ib. ii. 1959.
Giff [a burgess] be tane on nycht [B. on the nycht] with cry; Burgh Laws c. 64 (A).
The dog to bark on [Bann. in] nycht and keip the hous; Henr. Fab. 403 (H).
It cumis of kynde to thé … To ryde on nycht, to rug, to reue; Kennedy Flyt. 404.
On nycht birnyng swerdis war sene; Boece vi. xv. 218 b.
1567 Sat. P. vii. 66.
(2) It is leful to na man to ga be nycht; Burgh Laws c. 110 (B).
Be nycht secretly; Hay I. 18/19.
Doug. xii. xiii. 171.
(3) Na man may Cum nere thaim thar be nycht or day; Wynt. i. 578.
Neuer … be neycht nor daye; 1545 Montgomery Mem. II. 138.
Nouther be nycht nor day; 1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 124.
We ar dalie menassett boythe be neicht and day; 1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 41.
1614 Inverurie 197.
(4) Upoun the Sounday at nyt; 1567–8 Crim. Trials I. 501.
Quhill viij houris at nycht; 1568 Lanark B. Rec. 41.
Wpone ane Seterday at neycht; 1599 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 36 a.
For beir att neighte; 1631 Inchmahome Pr. 139.
At nyt I went about familie dutie; 1659 Hay Diary 126.
Thomas Allardyce … confessed that he drank late on Saturday at night; 1667 Cullen Kirk S. Nov. 17.
(5) At ellevin aclock a nicht; 1679 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 284 (21 Feb.).
(6) And ondir nycht quhyle stall thou staggis & stirkis; Dunb. Flyt. 428.
Throw feir of lowe and smouk under nicht; Bell. Boece II. 34.
To cum upoun hir under nycht; 1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 291.
Quhen the ane [high tide] fallis on the day, the vther do fall vnder nicht at the lyk hour; King Cat. in
Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 205/33.
Becaus he was drunkin and it wes vndar nicht; 1612 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 1 b (9 Dec.).
He being at Thomas Waker's door under night; 1667 Dumbarton B. Rec. App. i. 7.
(7) Gyf a man be dissasyt be drynking of vyne owyr nyght; 1579 Black Bk. Taymouth 147.
(8) Inwyth nycht; Barb. vii. 236 (E) (seed (1) below).
Withtin nycht; 1546 Treas. Acc. IX. 45.
In nycht; Henr. Fab. 403 (Bann.) (see (1) above).
b. Fra Carlele on nychtis ryde And in cowert on dayis bid; Barb. vii. 506 (E).
I sall fulfill … ȝour bidding Quhat euer ȝe charge on nichtis or on dayis; Henr. Fab. 2019 (H).
Sa monye starris ar nocht in nichtis sein; Maitl. Q. xxxviii. 80.
c. (1) Pollydamas on the nicht … passit richt To the Grekes; Troy-bk. ii. 3083.
On a nycht; Wynt. vi. 798.
Na fleschhewar sal sla flesch … on the nycht; Burgh Laws c. 75 (B).
On the nycht; Wall. iv. 267.
One ane netht quhen he wes … in his bed; Prester John 310 b.
xxiiii men … to wak one the nycht quhill daye; 1516 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 38.
Stewart 52544.
1541 Elgin Rec. I. 62.
Sylk to bynde on the saidis muchis on the nycht; 1549 Treas. Acc. IX. 351.
Lyke ane houlet on the nicht; Lynd. Meldrum 56.
Uppon the suddan on the nyght; 1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 82.
(2) Men mytht see wpone the nytht Hillis and waillis; Troy-bk. i. 470.
Lundeis luge thai left apon a nycht; Wall. (1968) ix. 637.
This … knycht … apon the nycht Past in; Seven S. 894.
Apoun the nycht; Boece iv. xvi. 154 b.
1547 Reg. Privy C. I. 73.
Vpone the stromye nycht; Lynd. Mon. 168.
All hors … lying out wpone the nycht; 1608 Inverurie B. Ct. 26 Apr.
(3) Ydymsy … leyt it owt in to the nycht; Barb. xiv. 355 (E).
Wynt. vii. 2747.
Into this nycht a visioun couth appeir; Kennedy Pass. Christ 656.
Rolland Seven S. 6910.
Into the dyrk nyght He gan hym hyde; Doug. iv. x. 93.
Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 176/4.
G. Ball. 107.
(4) Bot to that thing has he na sycht That thocht or don is in the nycht; Leg. S. xxx. 288.
Aganis natur in the nicht I walk in to weir; Howlat 58.
Irland Mir. I. 114/4, 7.
Certane schipherdis keiping thair weche in the nycht; Hamilton Cat. 148.
Ilk man in Edinburgh to haue his lumes fullof watter in the nynt [sic]; Diurn. Occurr. 327.
1580 Inverness Rec. I. 282.
Dalr. I. 94/19.
Nicht; 1606 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 21.
An murther commited in the neight; 1679 Laing MSS. I. 416.
(5) Na buchor sal sla bestis within the nycht; Burgh Laws c. 56 (A).
On Fowresday last was within the necht; 1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 72.
Rolland Seven S. 6015.
(6) At the nycht the tempestis stout Dowbled; Troy-bk. ii. 1730.
At that nycht at euin; Winȝet I. 23/5.
To bring him hidder … And namely now so lait in to [M. vpon] the nicht; Freiris Berw. 451 (B).
d. (1) It wes weill lat of [E. inwith] nycht be then; Brus vii. 236 (C).
Let at night; Melvill 403.
By haveing … danceing … in his house late upon Saturdayes night; 1680 Cramond Ch. Grange 36.
(2) It is not lesome to travell in time of nicht; Skene Reg. Maj. i. 133 b.
(3) And in great seylence of the nyght To the cite of Troye went ryght; Troy-bk. ii. 727 (D).
Cummyng vpoun the said Walter vnder silence of nycht; 1471 Acta Aud. 20/2.
Wnder the nychtis myrk scilens Thai maid the myne; Seven S. 868.
All closse vndir cloud of nycht thou cukkis; Kennedy Flyt. 499.
Throu the silens of the nycht; Doug. ii. vii. 64.
For vrangus setin on Jhon … onder the clud of the nycht; 1524 Carnwath Baron Ct. (ed.) 27.
1558 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 309.
Beand furth … vnder clwd of nicht in drynking and harletrie; 1587 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 502.
Undir cloude and silence of nycht … be way of brigancie; 1588 Reg. Privy C. IV. 284.
The puir litle anis quhilk gretis throch the toun under the silens of nycht; 1601 Elgin Rec. II. 92.
Be way of hamesucken … undir cloud and silence of nicht; 1619 Ib. I. 239.
For comeing uithin cloud of nicht [etc.]; 1623 Linlithgow B. Rec. 20 Sept.
Wnder silence of nycht; 1641 Elgin Rec. I. 269.

7. Attrib. and comb. a. Of inanimate things: For the night, for use by night. b. Of persons or animals, or of actions: Operating or active by night, taking place during the night. See also Nicht-bonnet, -cap, etc. a. Ane nyt chalmer goun of Inglis claith lynit with freis; 1623 Fraser P. 236.
Ane bowster … ane nicht cod; 1603 Treas. Acc. MS. 242.
For making of the nycht geir; 1566 Ib. 72, etc.
For keiping of his nicht geir; 1600 Ib. 69.
For four par of night glouiss; 1603 Montgomery Mem. 249.
Nicht graith bagis; 1643 Edinb. Test. LX. 239 b.
For a halking bagg for my lord night graith; 1663–6 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp MS. 16.
1603 (See Heir-les n.).
A traine of powder about the touch-hole [of a gun] and above it a nighthouse to keep the trayne dry from the nights serene; Lithgow Trav. 315.
Ane nycht mantile; 1544 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 206.
Ane nicht pok of blew; 1632 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 235.
To be kemmyng claithis, nycht quaffis and napkynnis … holand claitht; 1551 Treas. Acc. X. 18.
To be nycht quaffis to my lord governour; 1551–2 Ib. 47.
Holand claith … to mak nicht quaiffis for the Q.; 1561 Inv. Wardrobe 129.
For x elnis of claith for nycht sarkis to the Kingis grace; 1522 Treas. Acc. V. 193.
1527 Ib. 303, 305.
Hardin to be nycht scheittis to the haill stabillis; 1586 Ib. MS. 85.
A old neight weastcoat; 1659 Craven Ch. in Orkney II. 198.
Fyne small plaiding to be him twa nicht wyliecoittis; 1599 Treas. Acc. MS. 79.
Out of hir naiked bed in hir night walycot; 1643 Spalding II. 233.
b. [Several men accused] of nicht drinking; 1612 Fraserburgh Kirk S. i b (15 July).
1673 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 17 Jan.
Andro Chrysty night grieve; 1679 Torry Coal & Salt Wks. 54 b; 77.
Dyonea, nycht hyrd and wach of day; Doug. xii. Prol. 1.
When the armie com to thair night leager; 1640 Anal. Scot. I. 383.
He appointit tyme and place for thair nycht meting; 1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 235.
Than the nycht owle [R. nyght oule] resemblis the papyngay; Doug. i. Prol. 262.
Ib. iv. viii. iii, vii. Prol. 105.
I sal cum as a nycht theef to thee; Nisbet Rev. iii. 3.
Id. John x. 1; etc.
A night vager; 1696 Salmon Borrowstounness 447.

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