Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

NA, adv.1 Also naa, naw. 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(:), n(:); 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.

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.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Na adv.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: