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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).

Nigra-, Nigromansy, Nicromancy, n. Also: nygra-, nygro-, nycro- and -mancie, -mansie; and nygramyssy, -mycé, nagramissé. [ME. (Cursor M.) and e.m.E. nigramanci, nigro-, nigre-, nygramancy, -mansy etc., e.m.E. nycromansy (1522), OF. nygromancie (more commonly -mance: see Nigromance), med. L. nigromantia, alteration, by association with L. niger, nigr-, black, of L. necromantia Necromancie n. Cf. also Igramancie.]The forms in -myce, -misse seem likely to belong here rather than with Nigromance n.

Necromancy, the art of divination by communication with the dead; black magic, sorcery, enchantment.(a) 1375 Barb. iv. 748 (E).
Nygromancy [C. nigramansy] … That kennys men … To ger spyritis to thaim apper
a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 105.
c1420 Wynt. i. 855.
In Pers wes fyrst nygromancy [W. nygramansy] And wyche-craft wytht sorcery
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. I. 77/8.
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1720.
The nigromansie [L. nigramansy] thair saw I … Of Benytas [etc.]
a1540 Freiris Berw. 336 (M). 1600 Crim. Trials II. 253.
But quhen he ȝeid to Padua, thair he studieit nigromancie
(b) c1420 Wynt. ii. 27.
Zorastes … The fyndare off nycromancy Off wychecraft and sorcery
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 282.
Ib. 401.
1551 Hamilton Cat. 49.
1558-66 Knox II. 280. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 4937.
(c) a1538 Abell 14 a.
Be nygramyssy he had company of Olimpies and gat Alexander
Ib. 57 a.

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"Nigromansy n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2022 <>



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