Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HIMST, adj., adv. Also h(j)ims(e)(t), h(i)ams(e)(t); hemskit, -et; hengs(i)t, -et, hensk(Ork.), henks-; hingset; hüms (E.D.D.).

I. adj. 1. Behaving in a foolish or flighty manner, queer, half-witted (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1957).

2. Hurried, hasty, restless, fidgetty, abrupt in one's movements, agitated (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.). Hence hjimsness, hastiness, abruptness. Sh. 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 15:
Shü wappit twartree flooer baps apo da butt table wi' a hjimsness 'at wis aneugh to gee a body da herskit.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
Sheu's an awful hengst ting o' a lass.

3. Clumsy, awkward in one's movements, having a slovenly rolling gait (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 103, henksit, 1886 Edm. Gl., hengsit, 1908 Jak. (1928), hengset, hing-). Hence n. deriv. hengsi(e), hingsi (Jak.), a clumsy, awkward person, a clown (Edm., Jak.).

II. adv. In phr. to speak hjims, to speak abruptly (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1957). The adv. form henskly is found in Ork. = hurriedly, hastily. Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 120:
His yakels girned a a'fu' show, Like scawid cungles i' a geo. Whin ye leuk henskly in.

[Of doubtful etym., several words phs. having become confused both in form and meaning. The orig. seems to be O.N. heimskr, foolish, silly, Mid.Dan. hemsk, Dan. dial. hjamsk, Dan. himsk, id., but there has prob. been influence from Norw. himsa seg, to behave in a silly way, make wild gestures, and imsa seg, to be restless. See Imse, and Kims(et).]

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"Himst adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



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