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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

NARG, v., n. Also nyarg, njarg (Jak.); freq. forms nyargie, nyargle; n(j)irg, njørg (Jak.). [n(j)ɑrg; n(j)ɪrg]

I. v. intr. To keep grumbling and finding fault, to be peevish, to argue snappishly, to nag, taunt (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Kcb.1 1900, nyargle; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Mry.1 1925, nyargie; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1963). Ppl.adjs., vbl.n. nyargin, -an, fretful, fault-finding (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 119), nyargling, wrangling (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 367), nargit, vexed, chagrined, exasperated. Hence n(y)argie, jeering, scornful (Abd. 1825 Jam.), also used subst. = a grumbling, discontented person (Sh. 1963).Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 12:
Ye've narget on now till ye've rais'd my birse.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 119:
The twa dee nocht bit nyarg wee ane anither.
Dmf. 1923 Scots Mag. (March) 432:
They're fair nargit he's joukit them that aften.
Sh. 1930 Manson's Almanac 190:
Shu nirgid on in Tammie's face, Until his hert wis sore.

II. n. 1. Continual grumbling, importuning, or fault-finding, peevish wrangling (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 119; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1963); a grumbling, criticising, nagging person (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 367, nyargle; Jak.).

2. Fig. Hard, slow, laborious work, as in rowing; a strong, contrary wind at sea, causing turbulence and commotion, a dangerous or troublesome sea (Sh. 1903 E.D.D., nyarg, 1949 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 130, Sh. 1963).Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
We've had a regular n(j)irg at de ayre. A n(j)irg o' wadder. He is a njarg i' de sea. Der'r a njarg o' wind; he is blawin' a njarg byfram.

[A form of Nag, v.1, with epenthetic r for emphasis, cf. Dorb, n.1, v., Gorb, Jirble, Hirple, Hurb, lerb s.v Laib, etc. For the I.Sc. forms, cf. also Norw. dial., Faer. knarka, to creak, complain, Sw. dial. narg, clamour, grumbling, wrangling, narga, to gnaw, wrangle about trifles.]

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"Narg v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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