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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

NOUST, n. Also noost, nust, nowst; noast (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.); and aphetic form oast (Cai.). The place in which a boat is hauled up, gen. a scooped-out trench at the edge of a beach, surrounded by a shallow wall of stones, a boat-stance in gen. (Ork. 1825 Jam.; Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 155, 1908 Jak. (1928); I.Sc., Cai. 1964); a landing-place for a boat among rocks (Ork. 1825 Jam.) or shingle, also in form nouster (Ib.); a shore or prop for a beached boat (Cai. 1934, oast). Also fig. For comb. boat-noost, see also Boat, n.2, I. 2. (6). [n(ɔ)ust; Cai. nost]Ork. 1771 P. Fea MS. Diary (18 May):
Had my men brakeing up Ware in the boat nowst.
Sh. 1869 J. T. Reid Art Rambles 41:
Down to the boat-noust the trio hirpled.
Sh. 1885 Chambers's Jnl. (18 April):
Towards the end of December, Ned's boat was launched from the “Noost,” her snug winter-quarters behind the beach.
Sh. 1894 L. J. Nicolson Songs of Thule 79:
My fecht is owre wi' wind an' wave Da Noost is noo da quiet grave.
Sh. 1931 J. Nicolson Tales 55:
When a boat was taken from its “noost,” and put into the water, the bow had to be turned “sun-gaets.”
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 7:
Jamie Peace sitting at the noust sorting his creels.
Sh. 1988 Sunday Times (26 Jun.):
In their faces and their voices is the echo of their Viking forefathers; as distinctive as the curving prows of their traditional wooden rowing boats, the yoals and sixareens that lie so snugly at rest in their nousts above high water mark.
Ork. 1995 Orcadian (28 Dec.)  13:
The tide was high, lipping the tidemark along the bay where dunters sailed, and swallowing all the redware and the rocks from the noust to the Freequarry.
Ork. 2000 Orcadian (4 May)  16:
There are, of course, two nousts in this area, one between the Lifeboat shed and the present Gray's Noust houses, and one between these houses and the walled back garden of the house with the "Arctic Whaler" on the seaward side.
Sh. 2000 Alistair Peebles in Alec Finlay Atoms of Delight 63:
Boat-wreck in the nousts,
millstones in moss by the burn.

[O.Sc. newst, 1690, Norw. dial. naust(r), nøst, O.N. naust, a boat-shed, dock. The diphthongal form is due to Sc. influence.]

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"Noust n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2023 <>



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