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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

NICE, adj. As in Eng., fastidious, overparticular, now obsol. Sc. comb.: nice-gabbit, fussy or fastidious about food, having a dainty palate (Fif. 1825 Jam., Sc. 1927 Spectator (3 Dec.) 980). See also Gab, n.1, 2. (3). Adv. nicelies, precisely, to a hair, to a fine degree.Sc. 1822 in E. Burt Letters I. 322:
It sets ye weel to be sae nice-gabbit, a fulthy flesher o' Dunblane.
s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 323:
Ye ken nicelies how till make love to Betty Aitchison.
Knr. 1925 H. Haliburton Horace 170:
Nice-gabbit Fortune, wi' her wines, And a' thing braw aboot her!

Phr. aw the nice!, sentimental expression of approval.Gsw. 1977 Alan Spence in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 154:
'Three telegrams,' he said. 'The first one's from Peter in Canada. It says ALL THE BEST TO MY WEE SISTER AND HER LAD.' 'Aw the nice!' said Mrs Robinson from downstairs. 'Luvly boay Peter,' she said to Mary.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 82:
aw the nice! Exclamation of delight with schmaltzy overtones: 'Is this your Sadie's wean? Aw the nice!'
Gsw. 1986 Moira Burgess in Deirdre Chapman Scottish Short Stories 1986 35:
'Aw, a photy!' That was right up Mrs Weston's street. 'You an' him when he was a wee shaver. Aw, the nice. ...'
Gsw. 1987 Peter Mason C'mon Geeze Yer Patter! 56:
Aw the nice! Whit age is the wean noo? How delightful! How old is the child now.
Gsw. 1992 Sunday Mail 31 May :
Sam Bivens is a Dolly [Parton] FREAK. His house is a shrine to the star, with posters, pictures, paintings, album covers, magazines, signed photos...and dolls. His friends make dolls and dresses for him. Aw the nice.

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"Nice adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2022 <>



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