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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

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 16 Jun 2024 <>



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