Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NEW-YEAR, n.comb. Also Noo'eer (Ags.) and reduced forms, esp. in combs., n'yer, new(e)r-, neuer-, ne'(e)r-, ne'ar, nair-, nu(i)r-, noor(s)-, neever-. Sc. forms and usages. See also Hogmanay. [nju′(j)ir, em.Sc. (a) nu′ir, Ayr. ′nju(ə)r-, wm. and sm.Sc. ′nir-, Lth., s.Sc. ′ner-, Cai. ′nivər-]

1. Combs.: (1) New Year bread, bread baked with special ingredients for New-year's day; (2) noor-cake, an oatmeal cake, gen. of special crispness and tastiness, given to children on their New-year rounds. See also (7); (3) New'r(s)day (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), Newer- (Sh. 1901 Shetland News (19 Jan.)), Ne'ar- (Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 59), Ne'(e)r-, Nair- (Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 86), Neever- (Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 80), Noors-, Nur(w.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie 171), Nower-, (i) New-year's day. Freq. attrib.; (ii) a New-year's day gift, New-year cheer. Gen.Sc. Cf. 2.; (4) Neever even, and tautological form Newrn(s) een, the day before New-year's day, New-year's eve (wm.Sc. 1887 Jam.; Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne), Neever-, 80; Ork. 1964); (5) Newrgift, = (3) (ii) (Sc. 1818 Sawers; Sh. 1964); (6) Newersmas, Neuers-, New-year-tide (Sh. 1964, Newrsmas). Also attrib.; (7) New Year's piece, a cake or piece of currant bread or the like given to children begging Hogmanay (Ags. 1964); see also (2); (8) N'yer time, New-year-tide; (9) Old New-year's day, New-year's day, Old Style, now 12th January (I.Sc. 1964, Ald Newrday). (1) Sc. 1875  A. Hislop Anecdotes 141:
The Anker-stock was a round loaf made of rye-flour, and seasoned with spice and currants, and used as “New Year bread”.
(2) Peb. 1800  Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 475:
The custom of giving noor-cakes to the children of those who are destined to travel in the lower walks of life.
Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems I. 27:
Cheese an' nappie noor-cakes.
(3) (i) Rnf. 1788  E. Picken Poems 14:
To glad their sauls wi' Nurday cheer.
Abd. 1793  Trans. Bch. Field Club XIV. 73:
This being nower day the lads at ther Divershon.
Ayr. 1819  Kilmarnock Mirror 318:
Neist time she cums athort me in a Nuirday morning, I'll nick her forehead wi' a jockteleg.
m.Sc. 1842  A. Rodger Stray Leaves 51:
I hae gotten baith my cheese an' whisky laid in . . . you'll maybe come and get a preeing o't at New'r-day.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 69:
A man may as weel try to haud a yoong naig without a tether, as haud new'rs-day without drink.
Sc. 1893  Stevenson Letters (1899) II. 308:
I think it should reach you about Noor's Day.
Sc. 1936  Scots Mag. (May) 139:
Kate likely would have given you the right-about, as she did the Minister himself seven years come Ne'erday.
Sc. 1962  Scotsman (6 Oct.) 6:
By about Ne'erday, which is not fardistant, more than 100,000 jobless people will be signing on for the “dole” in Scotland.
(ii) Sc. 1897  J. Wright Scenes 15:
Visiting my grannie to get my “ne'erday”, . . . a daud of shortbread and currant-bun and a bawbee.
Gsw. 1902  J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor i.:
Ye maun ha'e yer Ne'erday, wumman, like ither folk.
(6) Fif. 1844  J. Jack St. Monance 19:
Keep yer snaw-baws to yer new'rsmas cronies.
Sh. 1932  J. Saxby Trad. Lore 157:
One Neuersmas a large party had assembled at the Moolapund.
(7) Sc. 1849  M. Oliphant M. Maitland xiii.:
If ane could but ken that there was some kindly body about her to gie her her New Year's piece!
(8) Sc. 1923  R. Macrailt Hoolachan 32:
I ha'e my seeven and sax a week, and burial fees, and a shillin' or twa noo and than, and at N'yer time.
(9) Sc. 1797  Edb. Mag. (May) 398:
In the course of the night of Old Newyear's Day last.

2. A gift or a drink of liquor given in hospitality at the New Year. Gen.Sc. Abd. 1889  Bon-Accord (12 Jan.) 9:
I gae'm's New Year, an' haith his tongue begood tae wag.

[O.Sc. new year mes, 1489.]

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"New-year n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2019 <>



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