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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FORENICHT, n. Also -night, foor- (Dmf. 1921 J. L. Waugh Heroes 78) and extended form fore-winter-nicht (Knr. 1925 “H. Haliburton” Horace 176). The part of the day between twilight and bedtime; the evening, esp. the winter evening, as a time of relaxation and social entertainment (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Fif., Ayr., Gall., Dmf. 1953). Hence forenichter, one who spends a social evening at another's house; to gie (somebody) a forenicht, to spend such an evening (Bnff.2 1943).Ags. 1761 in D. H. Edwards Fisher Folks (1921) 226:
He attended all forenight very publicly the last day of the same marriage.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 299:
We kent nae but it was drunken fowk riding to the fair, i' the forenight.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 208:
In summer there are no fore-nichts.
Per. 1831 R. Nicoll Poems (1855) 34:
All day I attend to my business; and in the fore-nights I learn my grammar.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 28:
Civilities were interchanged by one or more neighbours spending the evening with them, or, in common language, by geein' thim a forenicht.
Ib. 29:
The young men accompanied the fore-nichters to their home.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 46:
Syne O for a nicht, ae lang forenicht, Ower the dambrod spent or cairtin'.
Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 40:
I sat doon on a creepie-stool that forenicht an' grat.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 34:
Wi' the help o' my faither o' a forenicht I was sune through the A.B.C's.
Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chronicle (5 Jan.) 4:
Allowing an hour or so of the fore-night to pass to admit of preparation, the guests began to drop in.
ne.Sc. 1950 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 345:
Glen Dye is in Kincardineshire, so I suppose I should use the North-East term, “fore-nicht,” instead of the Gaelic “ceilidh,” but whichever word it is, the meaning is just the same — an informal gathering of folk around the fireside, when the old songs and music of the district come to life again.
ne.Sc. 1992 Press and Journal 4 Jul 2:
At the height of the day the sun was too hot for such work, so I set to in the "forenicht". ... You know, it is a terrible shame that we allow words such as "evening" to supplant the guid Scots' "forenicht".
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 118:
The sudden ferocity in his tone threw Mitchel into confusion. He had no idea what the letters had said; he had destroyed them. 'It wasna for me tae ken,' he mumbled. 'I was obeyin an order. Forby, the day wasna lost till the forenicht.'

[Fore-, 2. (or fore, prep.) + Nicht . O.Sc. has forenycht, id., from 1513.]

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"Forenicht n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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