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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Naither, Nather, a. (pron.) and adv. (conj.). Also: naithir, nayther, -ir; nathir, -or, naethuer; nader, -ir. [Alteration of Nowther, Nother, on the analogy of Aither, Ather. Cf. Nether.Cf. also late ME. (appar. once only) nayther (1462, Dublin).Appar. not a continuation of north. and early ME. naþer, OE. náðer, náðor.] Neither.

A. adj. And absol. as pron.(1) 1488 Acta Conc. I. 881.
That the gudis … be nocht waistit … be nather of thir partiis
1494 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 353.
That nathir of tham heir nor wit the tothirs peril nor scaith but he sal warn him
1573 Sempill Sat. P. xxxix. 131. 1626 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 300. 1627 Orkney Rentals iii. 51.
In nather of the parochins
1639 Justiciary Cases I. 301. 1664 Butler Leighton 577.
I think naither of the breithreine can justly complaine
(2) 1682 Lauder Observes 305.
Those for him pleaded that he could be guilty of nather
(3) 1647 J. Hope Diary (1919) 134.
Nather syde should be tyed [etc.]

b. adv. (conj.).(1) 1502 Orkney Rentals i. 6.
Tankarnes … payis nather malt scat nor butter scat
c 1563 Reg. Panmure I. xxxii.
He culd nather reid nor wreit
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 3.
Thou sall nather abyde greit eruditioun nor eloquence
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 145. a1578 Pitsc. I. 29/22. 1580 Red Bk. Grandtully II. 131. c1590 Fowler II. 56/5. Ib. 136/7.
Painting and grauing ar things indifferent, nather guid nor euil
1596 Dalr. II. 292/20. Ib. I. 7/30.
Nather for kinn and blude and affinitie with freindes, nouther dignitie of the Cardinal nor maiestie of the Chanceler … culd avale
1600-1610 Melvill 31. Ib. 253.
He haid nather that honour, welthe nor helthe as he was wount to haiff
1603 Red Bk. Grandtully I. 106.
We … sall nather heir nor sie his skaith
1609 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 71. 1625 Garden Kings 27.
A wicked king, be nather facts nor fame … notted nor renound
1666 Laing MSS. I. 350.
That nather you nor hee aquented me with it
1680 Lauder Observes ii.
Nather to disseminat nor practise any of his dangerous positions
(b) c 1570 Maxwell Mem. II. 138.
Is to ane pyk tuith I … nader haif ane nor culd fynd ane to by
1591-2 Rob Stene 8.
Scho was nadir luvit nor feirit
(c) 1550 Blackfriars Perth 220.
Naythir will the tenentis of the said lands mak them payment of the malis … nor yit the possessors of the uthir lands … mak thame payment of the saidis annuellis
1565 Digest Justiciary Proc. F. 3.
The saidis persounes ar naither frie halderis nor burgesis of borrowis
1579 Acts III. 175/2. 1648 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 154.
That none of these … quartermasters sall naither have power nor any voyce in the leitting of the new deacone
1649 Acts VI. (1819) 444/1.
(2) 1589 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 383.
That thai … nather pluk the woll of the hals … or yitt diminische the skyns
c1590 Fowler I. 94/223. 1596 Grant Chart. 186.
Thai … sall nather inqueyit … or molest the Lardis Grantis boundis
1596 Dalr. I. 16/22.
Ane academie nocht obscure nathir infrequent or of ane smale numbir
Ib. 27/7.
Nathir be force or fraud is it thocht winnable
Ib. 14/5, 344/17. 1629 Justiciary Cases I. 135.
It nather bure kaill lynt hemp or uther grane
(3) 1586 Jurid. Rev. IV. 298.
Answerit the advocat that he nather accuses for haulding of court doing of justice bot as the lybel beris
(4) 1599 Acts IV. 181/1.
Quhen for ȝouth nather ar thai [young wildfowl] abill to gif pastyme and for quantitie can nawyis be ane greit refreschment
1599 Soc. Ant. IV. 152.
In respect nather is he responsall in the sowmes whereupoun the cautioun is fundin and that na inland man will be cautioun for him
(5) 1569 Canongate Ct. Bk. 19.
He hes maid na restitutioun nather wrocht nor unwrocht as yit
1589 Cal. Sc. P. X. 100.
Willing to pretermitt no occatione naethuer at courte nor at home
1634 Maxwell Mem. II. 252.(6) 1570 Bann. Memor. 56.
Nather had I any ingres in the wicked practises of magicienis nather was farder curious to vnderstand
1588 King Cat. viii b.
Nather in life and conuersatione, nather in the houre of deathe
c1590 Fowler II. 114/22.
Nather might nether suld he have executed sa great exploytes
1594 Reg. Morton I. 188.
I haiff nather commandit thame mak payment … nather ȝit contramandit thame mak payment
1596 Dalr. I. 8/24, 27. a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI 283.
1623 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 203. c1650 Spalding I. 221.(7) 15.. Dunb. App. ii. 76.
For no wisdome nor no strenth … Naythir for freyndschip agane wanewerd
1589 James VI in Reg. Privy C. IV. 427.
Nather use I to be sa caryed away with passioun
1590 Conv. Burghs I. 320.
In sa far as na complaynt was givin in … nather was the said decreit abefoir schawin or producit
c1590 Fowler I. 17/1. Ib. II. 122/19. 1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 235.
Sche saw nocht the marineris, nathir thay saw hir
1596 Dalr. I. 21/16.
Nathir only of nature hes this dog this ingine bot rathir of man
Ib. 184/11.
This is the first ȝeir of his regne nathir the ȝeir hail out
Ib. 90/8, 183/6. 1600-1610 Melvill 134.
The Kirk was nather art [nor] part … in that mater nather luiket for anie sic thing
1614 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 129. 1617 Ib. 146. 1615 Sutherland Corr. 113.
I am most sorie that ye wer absent from your lady … nather will I be glaid untill I hear of hir recoverie
1618 Annandale Corr. 278.
He whois growndis hath sildowm bein settillid by imagenarey contemplatiowns nathir yit hath had his actiowns limettid
1627 Justiciary Cases I. 68. 1659 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 250.
1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 142.

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"Naither adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Apr 2024 <>



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