Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
NERVISH, adj., n. Also nerwish (Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 14); nerv(i)es (Sh. 1899 Shetland News (4 March)); narvish (Lth. 1891 R. F. Hardy Tibby's Tryst 123).
I. adj. Nervous, excitable, easily agitated (Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 403; Slk. 1914 Southern Reporter (17 Dec.) 3; Uls. 1953 Traynor; n., m. and s.Sc. 1964). Dial. in Eng. Also adv.
Sc. 1825 Wilson Foresters xii.:
I felt a little nervish and queer sometimes. Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. iv.:
Ye maunna laugh at it, dearie. . . . Maybe a nervish fever, wha kens. Bwk. 1859 P. Landreth J. Spindle (1911) 62:
I saw his fingers workin' awa nervish at his bit cane. Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
She was . . . understood to be “far frae stoot”; she was, indeed, “nervish”. Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie 260:
I have been getting real nervish of late. Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 31:
I got akinda nervish. Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 75:
My grandmother was a terrible nervish woman; she was aye feared it was goin' to rain. Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie ' Twixt Hills and Sea 37:
Aftener a piece he's beggin' Or some nervish wifie fleggin'.
Hence nervishness, nervousness (Uls. 1953 Traynor; n., m. and s.Sc. 1964).
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin 192:
It had brocht on my mither a turn o' nervishness. Abd. 1953 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 121:
I can gie ye a braw cure for nervishness.
II. n. With def. art.: an attack of nervousness, a fit of agitation or excitement (Sh. 1964).
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (12 June, 23 Oct.):
He'll shurely no geng aboot da flüir i' da nervies laek a dumpest füle. . . . Dey speak o' tae geein' folk da nervies.
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"Nervish adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Jun 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/nervish>
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