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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

NEIST, n., v. Also neest, niest, nist(i) (Jak.), nyst; nisk (Jak.); deriv. neistin, niskin (Jak.). [Sh. ni:st, Ork. naist]

I. n. 1. A spark of fire, esp. the last glowing fragment of a dying fire (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.). Also fig. in combs. †nistie-cock, nistikorn, a small suppurating pimple or boil (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928)), phs. partly by a conflation with Esscock.Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 129:
As on his riggin' he fell ower, He ilka nyst o' fire did sower.
Sh. 1893 Sinclair MS. 7:
Lowrie handrists da tabacha, wi' da cutty dirrlin apo da sleb — yocks a pett wi' a peerie neest.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Whan I cam in de wir no a niest upo da hert.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
The're no a neistin on the hearth ava.
Sh. 1964 Norden Lichts 11:
Whin every flan wid send da neesties flyin.

2. A slight or passing shower (Jak.). Hence niskin, id. (Ib.).

II. v. Also in freq. form neester (Marw.). To drizzle, rain or snow slightly (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1964).Jak.:
He is beginnin' to nisk. . . . He is niskin de snaw ut o' him.

[Norw. dial. (g)neiste, Faer. neisti, O.N. gneisti, a spark, vestige. For v. cf. the similar extension of Spark.]

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"Neist n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Mar 2023 <>



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