Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

NOD, v., n.1 Also nud-; freq. form noddle, and reduplic. forms (nid-) nid-nod, niddy-noddie, -y, nidity nod(ity) , nidy noy. Sc. usages:

I. v. 1. As in Eng.; in reduplic. forms, to nod repeatedly, as when dozing (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 114, 1887 Stevenson Underwoods (1914) 57). Ppl.adj., vbl.n. nid-nodding. Sc. c.1770 Herd's MSS. (Hecht 1904) 180:
They'r a' nodding, nid nid nodding, They'r a' nodding at our house at hame.
Slk. c.1817 Hogg Tales (1837) I. 289:
She sat nid-nodding and casting imploring looks for me to go to bed.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 147:
Lang may ye noddle i' yer chaumer, Free frae the noise o' spitefu' clamour.
Rnf. 1830 A. Picken Dominie's Legacy III. 169:
Ye set doun your feet, man, when ye march, just as ye were treading the treadles; an' your vera head gangs nid nodding, as if ye were following the shuttle.
Sc. 1866 Carlyle Reminisc. (1881) I. 324:
The little phantasm of a creature . . . who went niddy-noddying with his head.
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger 12:
An' the bairnies drappit aff to sleep, nid-noddin' where they sat.

Hence (1) nidity-nodity, niddlety-noddlety, used as a term of endearment: dainty. Also in Lan. dial.; (2) nidy noy, staggering or walking unsteadily from drink; (3) noddy, nudie, adj., sleepy with drink; n., a sleepyhead (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Combs.: Hendry Noddie, the sandman, Wee Willie Winkie, the fairy who brings sleep to children (Sh. 1964); noddy-head, id., noddy-headit, sleepyheaded, dazed, as with drink (Cld. 1880 Jam.). (1) Slk. 1829 Hogg Poems (1874) 430:
Sweet little niddlety-noddlety Nanny.
Fif. 1879 W. D. Latto Song Sermons 23:
A pair of nidity-nodity neat little booties playing at bo-peep from beneath a petticoatie of spotless purity.
(2) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 173:
An' nane can nature's charms enjoy, . . . Wha ay gang donarin' nidy noy To houses flisky.
(3) Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 24:
Syne he gied each a glass o' toddy To cheer them up and mak' them noddy.

2. To plod on in a quiet, steady, unruffled manner, to jog along. Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 57, 141:
Gif good or ill the warl bodid, He ne'er took tent, but onward nodded. They soom athort the sa't sea water, An' hameward nod.
Ags. 1890 Brechin Advertiser (19 Sept.):
Gin he be aye noddin' aboot he maun be a fell bittie past his best.

II. n. 1. A nod, nodding, as from sleepiness; a nap, forty winks; a short, polite bow. Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 18:
Fear o' robbers on the road, Or breaking in my house o' sod, Did never discompose my nod.
Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems (1877) 32:
Countra bodies, Wha, tentless o' yer niddy noddies, Yer squints, an' scrapes, an' how-d'ye-do's, Tell owre their min', an' tak' their booze.
Fif. 1845 T. C. Latto Minister's Kail-yard 36:
The spirit mov'd, but still the body Was unco fu' o' nid-nid-noddy.

Phrs.: ¶(1) friend nods, a personification of sleep, Morpheus; (2) to play nod, to nod from drowsiness, to fall asleep, — niddy noddy, -niddity nod, to bob up and down, to shake unsteadily as from old age; (3) to slip to nod, to go to “the land of Nod,” to go to sleep. (1) Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 74:
But while they were at a' this odds, By lucky chance, comes on friend nods.
(2) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 51:
Her paps plays nidity nod when she gangs.
Lnk. 1877 W. Watson Poems 38:
An', ere we're ha'f gate wi' our life, Our head plays niddy noddy, Auld-like some day.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 118:
Sleep their winkers baith let fa', An' they play'd nod.
(3) Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 36:
He the bizzy roun' hath trod, An' quietly wants to slip to Nod.

2. A yarnwinder having two arms set in a plane at right angles to each other. The operator kept count by repeating a rhyme (Kcb. 1956, niddy-noddy). So called from its bobbing motion.

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

"Nod v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: