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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

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 21 Jul 2024 <>



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