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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

NACKET, n.1 Also nackett, -it. nakket, nyacket, nocket (Watson), and forms with k-.

1. A servant in a mill, a mill boy.e.Lth. 1705 J. Paterson Musselburgh (1857) 39:
The Baillies and Counsell having declared Adam Stenhouse his office as nackett in the Sea-milne for his miscarriages to be vacant, they have elected Robert Wood, servitor to Patrick Herriot, younger, to be the toune's servant and nackett in the said milne.

2. A small, undergrown, neat person (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poet. Effusions 121; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.;  Ags. 1990s; Edb. 2000s). Gen.Sc.; a pert, tricky or precocious child, an imp (Ork., w. and s.Sc. 1887 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., nakket; I. and ne.Sc. 1963). Dim. nackaty, -etie. Also transf. of things.Sc. 1770 Hailes Ancient Sc. Poems 303:
Nackettis ”. A nacquet, in French, is a lad who marks at tennis. It is now used for an insignificant person.
Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 45:
I saw the bit nackit o' a ship lyin' oot i' the roads.
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 33:
I've a brat o' my ain, he's a three summers nacket.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Sc. Fields 135:
He would rest content with the revenge of referring to him as a “nacket ”, “steek ”, “prick-the-loose.”
Abd. 1905 C. Horne Forgue 195:
Yon bit nackaty o' a man — aye, the parson's man.
Lnk. 1928 H. Lauder Roamin' 82:
That half-wittit, under-sized nyacket.
Fif. 1932 M. Bell Pickles & Ploys 60:
Fancy a wee bit knackit like yon belittlin' honest, hard-workin' smiths!
Ags. 1990s:
Nacket: n. a small person.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 24:
An Droggie's clivver dother? She could mak her fadder's peels.
Nae hoven wyme or clocher, nae beelin, hack or strain
Bit she could ease; and fin royt nackets tummelt greetin at their play ...

Hence (k)nackety, -ity, adj., compact, neat, tidy, smart-looking (Abd., Kcd., Ags., Per. 1963); deft, expert (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.); finicky, fond of neatness (Sc. 1818 Sawers), conceited, self-important (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 222:
I thought they would be very well with this orderly, nackety body.
Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 24:
Sic a nacketie nib as he is noo wi' yon chun-strappit bonnetie.

3. In comb. tieves' nacket, the lapwing, Vanellus vanellus (Sh. 1955 L. Venables Birds, etc. 291, Sh. 1963), though here the word may be mainly onomat. Thevis nek occurs as the cry of the bird in The Buke of the Howlat, c.1450 and The Complaynt of Scotland, 1549. Cf. Nicket, id., and Thief.

4. A little ball (Edb. 1845 F. W. Bedford Heriot's Hospital (1859) 346, 1910 Scotsman (3 Sept.)), esp. one of wood, stone, or bone, used in the game of Shintie (Sc. 1808 Jam.); the can in kick-the-can (Lnk. 1962); a quantity of snuff made up in a ball-shaped or cylindrical form, a small roll of tobacco (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems 109:
Our children yet athwart the muir May drive, far bounding through the air The nacket or the ball.
Edb. 1898 J. Baillie Walter Crighton 59:
Often the makers would use up odds and ends of material for making what were called “nackets ” or small balls.

[O.Sc. nackett, c.1500, O.Fr. naquet, a boy who serves or stops the ball at tennis, a tennis-court keeper's boy. O.Sc. has nacket, = 2., 1618.]

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"Nacket n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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