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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

NA, adv.1 Also naa, naw. (na Sh., Cai., Bnff., Fif., Dmf.; naw Ork., Ags., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). No, the negative reply to a question, the word used to indicate denial, disagreement, refusal or contradiction. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. For emphasis, freq. doubled or followed by some int. word or phr. as na, na; na be here! (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.); na faith; -fegs; -sirs, etc., for which see second element. [nɑ(:), nǫ(:); in rapid or unstressed speech sometimes nə?, though this may equally well represent Eng. no.]Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 67, 76:
Let dorty dames say Na, . . . That na, na, na. I hate it most vilely.
Ayr. 1787 Burns To a Louse iv.:
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right, Till ye've got on it.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
Na, my leddy, it's no that.
s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 228:
Ye man ans'er either ay or na.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums v.:
Na, na, no you, T'nowhead.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 13:
“Na! feth I! ” I says.
Kcb. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy xxviii.:
Na, faith — sup them [porridge] up.
m.Lth. 1922 “Restalrig” Sheep's Heid 34:
“Naw”, said Bauchle, “I dinna ken.”
Ork. 1929 Peace's Almanac 138:
Eh, na bit, Cessie, hard du da neous?
Abd. 1929 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (11 April) 6:
Na be here, mistress, we dinna get you churnin' at this time o' nicht fin we come tae see ye.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 48:
naw Local version of no: 'Mair snaw? Aw naw!'
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 35:
Naw, naw, ye're faur too nice, you winnae!
Ah ken you ken yirsel' the flesh is weak, noo dinnae - !
Gsw. 1987 James Kelman Greyhound for Breakfast (1988) 126:
Even though I couldnt see his face I knew he must have been smiling, that he had been cracking a wee joke. And he says: Naw, I dont want to disappoint you.
m.Sc. 1991 Robert Alan Jamieson A Day at the Office 15:
Anything come for me?
- Naw. No cheque yet if it's that you're lookin for.
m.Sc. 1996 Christopher Brookmyre Quite Ugly One Morning (1997) 32:
Parlabane stood up and slapped Duncan on the back.
'Naw, you're all right, big yin.'
'Where are you going?'

Phrs.: 1. na ca deed I, not I indeed (Ork. 1866 Edm. Gl.). See Guid, I. 7. (11); 2. to say one na(w), to refuse (one).2. Sc. a.1830 May Collin in Child Ballads IV. 442:
Till she had neither tongue nor teeth Nor lips to say him naw.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 13:
Hid wus no' aisy for ony man tae say her na'.

[O.Sc. na, from a.1400. Of somewhat uncertain orig., not a regular development from O.E. , which gives Nae, adv., but phs. an emphatic altered form of O.E. ne.]

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"Na adv.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Oct 2022 <>



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