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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Nowther, Nouther, Nowder, Nolder, a. (pron.) and adv. (conj.). Also: nowthir, -yr, -air, nouthir(e, -yr; nowdir, nouder, -ir; noldyr, nowlder, -ir. [ME. nowwþerr (Orm), nowðer, nowther, nouðer, nouther, north. e.m.E. nowdyr (Cath. Angl.), nouther, nowther, OE. nowðer contracted f. nóhwæðer. Cf. Nother, Naither, Nether and Newthir.After the 15th c. appar. chiefly or only Sc. and north., and so also in the mod. Sc. and north. Eng. dialects.] Neither.

A. adj. (See also Nowther-ane.) 1386 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 9. 1398 Ib. No. 38.
That nane pundys sal be tane of nouther syde for na manere of [etc.]
1523 St. P. Henry VIII IV. i. 15.
Wher unto the lordes maid na answer to nowder parte
1533 Boece v. ii. 166 b.
Nowthir partie apperit leif the feild

b. absol. as pron.(1) ?1438 Alex. ii. 4193.
Nouthir of thame preissit vther greatly
1409 Exch. R. IV. ccxi.
That nane of the foresaide lordis sal do … to nouthir of thaim slachtir [etc.]
1477 Stewart Mem. 75. 1491 Lennox Mun. 143.
Nowdir of the saidis partis
1496 Acta Conc. II. 28.
1568 Maxwell Mem. II. 135.
And nolder of the samyn in him persawit
1572–3 Canongate Ct. Bk. 434.
He suld nocht be compellit to entir in pley … except in thre caces … and it is swa that this actioun is nowther of thay thre
1596 Dalr. I. 98/7.
(2) c1420 Wynt. v. 774.
Bot thai twa were … Nowthyr papis successywe Bot thai ware [etc.]
1501 Acta Conc. III. 30.
He … askit ony of thir twa wayis til be schawin and … sen he schaw nowthir [etc.]
1530 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 109.
And he and his querreour nouther burgessis

c. Appar. = Not any, no. — 1534 St. P. Henry VIII IV. i. 669.
Sa that nowlder wdyr man, Inglese nor Scotis, have wnderstanding therof

B. conj. 1. Introducing two or more alternatives, about each of which the statement is negative.Either placed directly before the alternative words, phrases or clauses or at some earlier point in the sentence.(1) 1375 Barb. xviii. 534.
Sen that caus ȝow led thar-till, And nouthir wreth na euill will
1392 Lennox Mun. 48.
Nouther throw dowte na forse led
1405 Maxwell Mem. I. 146. 1406 Rep. Hist. MSS. Var. Coll. V. 78.
Grantand hir nouther to be enducit na led thrw awe na strenith na yhete thrw sliddin
c1420 Wynt. ix. 429 (R).
Nowthir fure na fute off land Wes at thair pes than off Ingland
Ib. v. 4318. 1456 Hay I. 147/31, 154/3, etc. 1490 Irland Mir. I. 134/35.
In the promys is werray securite, nouthire doubilnes na falshede
1533 Boece vi. ii. 186 b.
Ȝe haue nowdir incurrit haterent na dishonoure
(2) 1386 Rot. Sc. II. 85/2.
Nowthir be brynnyng ne slaghter of men
(3) 1375 Barb. iv. 212.
I wes nouythir wis no sle
Ib. xi. 412. 1379 Douglas Chart. 29.
That nowthir I no myn ayres no our assignez
1470 Prestwick B. Rec. 15.
Novdir ane no other, man no weman, fre na stalangear
1535 Stewart 16751.(4) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2001 (Ch.).
I can nouther fische with huke nor net
Id. Orph. 179 (Ch. & M.).
Seke hir suth I sall, And nouthir stynt nor stand for stok no stone
1482–3 Acta Conc. II. cix.
Thai nouther warnit our soverane lord nor ȝhit the said party
1483 Ib. cxx. 1486 Bk. Carlaverock II. 446.
I … sall nouther heir his scath nor se it
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 207.
For thow hes nowthir for to drink nor eit
Id. xxxiii. 19. 1513 Doug. xiii. iv. 113.
1547 Reg. Privy C. I. 69.
Tak na part with thame nowthair directe nor indirect
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1058. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3575.
Ȝour grace sayis nouther ȝe nor nay
c1568 Lauder Minor P. i. 42.
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 67.
That nowther she culd wele allowe of thair doingis nor thay like of her fassions
1576 Orkney Oppress. 74.(b) 1499 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II. 18.
That the saidis euidentis … be nowder of strength, fors nor effect
1513 Doug. i. i. 8 Comment.
Fra Ene bein namyt the Latynis and nowdir fra the cyte nor the land
Ib. ii. viii. 91, ix. xi. 91. 1514 Bk. Carlaverock II. 456.
I sal novder wit lak dishonour nor scaith to my said lord
1533 Boece ix. ii. 288 b.
Ane man nowdir compare to thame in substance nor dignite
1573 Reg. Privy C. II. 247.
The said Marie Flemyng … nowder did exhibit nor present the saidis gowellis nor yit [etc.]
1591-2 Rob Stene 13.
Doggis spairis nowdir sib nor fremit
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1818) 58.
(c) 1549 Crawford Mun. Invent. I. 93 (2 Apr.).
That he nolder sell analie dispone nor put away the samin
1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 150. 1559 Id. in Misc. Wodrow Soc. 270. Id. Compendious Ressonyng 154/1.
& ȝe knaw nolder quhat the mes nor idolatrie menis
1562 Montgomery Mem. 194.
1567 Acts II. 547/2.(5) 1516 Wigtown B. Ct. 58 a.
That nowder skinnis hydis claith [etc.] … be sauld bot at the merkit cros
c 1525 Wemyss Corr. 67.
The falt wes nowthyr in hym or me bot in your awyn sclwth
1564 Crim. Trials I. ii. 444.
That this man lattin furth is nowther convict of ony homicide or fugitiue fra the Queenis lawis

b. Accompanied by inversion of the normal wordorder of the sentence.Presumably with emphatic effect. Chiefly with inversion of the subject, but also of the object or of a verbal complement.(1) ?1438 Alex. i. 296.
Sall nouther Tholomere, na the King Na ȝit Danclene … Say [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. v. 3853.
That nowthir sail folow syn na schame Na till hys state sall fall defayme Na [etc.]
14.. Acts I. ii/2.
Fra thaim … nouthir met na othir thyng thruch violence thai sal tak
Ib. 358/2.
Be him that nouder law na rycht has
1456 Hay I. 114/25.
That out of his lordis land suld pas nouthir hors na men [etc.]
Ib. 188/12.
Nouthir trowis perfitely in the rycht faith, na do thai till ours overane lorde honour
1490 Irland Mir. II. 6/27.(2) 1513 Doug. i. x. 48.
That our dissait he nowder persave ne knaw
(3) 1490 Irland Mir. I. 48/33.
Nouthire in Jhesu nor in His blist modere was ony maner or kind of syn mortale
a1500 Bk. Chess 1666.
But grammer can he nouther speik nor reid
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 109. Id. Æn. Prol. 150. 1533 Bell. Livy I. 31/32. 1533 Boece iv. xvi. 153. 15.. Christis Kirk 3 (B).(b) 1513 Doug. ii. 131. Ib. ix. iii. 123.
Nowder Troianys nor Rutilianys freith will I
1533 Boece ix. iii. 292 b.
Britouns … seing that Saxouns nowder be lygis wald be lele nor wald be content to lif in pece
Ib. xi. 314.
Nowder sal exteriour inemyis nor domestic of resoun be ferit in tyme cuming
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2687 (B).
Bot nocht to Jynkine gentill man That nowdir will he wirk or can
(c) 1558 Q. Kennedy Tractive 125.
Thair wyl nolder monk freir nor preist answeir for my saule bot my self

c. With an additional negative.(1) 1392 Lennox Mun. 48.
Nouther I forsayde William na I Issabel his spouse na nane of our hayris sal make anyng [etc.]
1432 Ayr B. Ct. 28 July.
Nowder to sel it to na man na gif it
1443 Ayr Chart. 28.
The … merchandis of Irwine … aucht to cum within … Are nouthir on the merkate day na yit nane uthir day of the wolk
1454–5 Irons Leith I. 570.
1456 Hay I. 228/35. Ib. 68/13, 82/32, etc.
Na ȝit he may nouthir tak na geve baptesime
1466 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXIII. 34.
The expensis … sal nocht be in to speciale put nowder to alderman na baillies
1474 Prestwick B. Rec. 25.(2) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1677.
Thai thocht on no parrile Nouthir the tempest … Ne of the tyme the qualiteis
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 71.
He saw nane levand leid … Nouthir lord ne lad
(3) 1462 Chart. (Reg. H.) No. 371.
That nowdir I no … myn aris no assignys sai notht sell [etc.]
1472 Prestwick B. Rec. 20.(4) a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 447.
Nowthir for his senyeoury, nor for his summoun, Na for dreid of na dede, na for na distance, I will noght bow me ane bak for berne that is borne
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2646.
Ȝe may se nouther wisdome nor fors Dow not resist the curstnes of thair cors
1570 Warrender P. I. 95.
We wil not refuis the aid nouther of papist, Jow nor gentil
1589 Edinb. Test. XXI. 142.
That nowther the said Johne nor nane of his tutouris … may [etc.]
1616 Reg. Privy C. X. 657.(b) 1471 Acta Aud. 19/2.
Thomas … nocht comperit nowder be himself nor his procuratouris
1513 Doug. ii. ii. 42. 1521 Douglas Corr. 80.
The lord kepar … hes na maner of rewle nowder of oure soueranys diet, nor poyntinge of his servandis … nor abilȝement of his persoun
(c) 1499 Liber Melros 622.
That noldyr we nor our successouris … sal neuir inquiet truble nor wex … the said James
1536 St. P. Henry VIII IV. ii. 49. 1547 Ayr B. Acc. 105. 1558 Glasgow Prot. II. 58.
To haif nayne maner of esyamentis in the saidis gavile nowlder bowall nor chymnay
(5) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 81 (A).
Na burges … may nouther sell or by or be fre in ony burgh bot [etc.]
1554 Reg. Privy S. IV. 430/1.
And on no wyis may sustene … ony chargeis nouthir be sey or land
1564 Ib. V. i. 485/1. 1574 Conv. Burghs I. 31.
Na craftisman hes evir had nolder aucht or suld haif voit
1596 Dalr. II. 134/4.

d. Used without a correlative, apparently as a strong negative. ? Or, in some instances, by anacoluthon. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2043.
To the warld it war les schame … Bot thai may nouthir resonabilly Excus [ed. Exters] thare wikkit adultry
1432–3 Ayr B. Ct. 20 Jan.
It was ordanit be a qwest that Wil Bonnaris wif & Jhon Agreers wife suld nouder bak na bred in the toun bot qwar thai will
1501 Acta Conc. III. 30.
That thair was nowthir thing schawin til bere the landis fra the Kingis grace

2. = And not, nor, nor yet. Also with inversion of the word-order of the sentence.Used both following a negative (including nouther) in the preceding clause or sentence and independently. Also nouther ȝit, ever. 1513 Doug. iv. i. 67.
Gif thou wilt … in wedowhed … waist away thy ȝowthed Nowthir ȝyt the comfort of sweit childring thou knawis Nor the plesour felis of Venus lawys
Ib. x. xiv. 64.
Ȝit want I not off men the cumpany, Nowder lyght of lyfe ne cleirnes of the sky
1560 Conf. Faith in 14.. Acts II. 531/2.
The interpretatioun [of scripture] … nouther appertenis to priuate nor publict persoun nouther ȝit to ony kirk
1568 Lyndesay Pref. 397.
Nouther in this is it greitly neidfuull to me to trauell
Ib. 399.
Nouuther ceissit thay … to inwey on the stait of the Kirk
1596 Dalr. II. 260/17.
Nouther was this done without cause
Ib. 19, 20.
For nowther was he ouer lang … nouther ouer schort
Ib. 27.
Neuer was he suir in materis of doubte, nouther evir was he doubtesum in materis that war sure

b. Nor nouther, = nor either, nor. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3959.
As to ȝour Quene … It is not prouin nor nouther is gospell Nor … Without mair prufe ȝouir sone suld not put doun

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"Nowther adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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