Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

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

NEAR, adv., prep., adj. Also nere, neer-. Compar. neard(h)er (Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xxxiv.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, Ayr., Gall., Uls. 1963); superl. neard(h)est (Traynor), nearmost (ne., m. and s.Sc.). Sc. forms and usages. See also Nar. [′niər; em.Sc.(a), sm.Sc. ner]

I. adv., prep. 1. As in Eng. Deriv. nearlins, neir-, nearly, almost (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Sh., Abd. 1963). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 146:
[She] glow'rd, an' shook, as she cam' ben, An' very nearlins fainted.
Sc. 1815 Poems in Sc. Dialect 15:
But fareweel, Pate, I'm nearlins through.
Abd. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 9:
A ploy that nearlins smoret the goupen.

Sc. combs. and Phrs.: (1) nearabout, prep., near, close to; adv. (also nearabouts), nearly, almost, by and large. Gen.Sc.; (2) near-be [ < nearby] -g(y)aun (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvi.), -gawn, -ga(a)n, -g(j)aain (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.), -gaean (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch Bk. 221), -gaein (Sh. 1924 T. Manson Peat Comm. III. 99), -gone (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1953 Traynor), neer-, -begun, -bigyaun, miserly, greedy, close-fisted (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb. 1900; Sh., Ork., Cai., ne. Sc., Fif., Slk. 1963). See (5) and (6). Hence near-b'gyaunness, stinginess; (3) nearbehadden, id. (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); ‡(4) near-b'hand, id. (Abd. 1963). Cf. Nearhand; (5) nearby, also nearbe, as in (2), (3) and (4), (i) adv., close at hand, near; (ii) nearly, almost); (iii) prep., close to, beside. All Gen.Sc.; (iv) as an adj., close at hand, neighbouring; (6) near-gaun, -gaw(i)n, = (2) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1916 J. Mowat Proverbs 7; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I. and n.Sc., Slk. 1963) [cf. Norw. dial. nœrgangande, id.]. Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence near-goingness, greed, close-fistedness, parsimony; (7) near geddert, gathered in a mean or avaricious manner (Abd. 1963); (8) near-handed, stingy (Sc. 1897 S. Tytler Lady Jean's Son 51). Cf. (2), (4), Nearhand, II. 2; (9) near oneself, = (6) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, Uls. 1963); (10) near the bane, -been, id. (Sc. 1880 Jam.; e.Lth. 1930; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.; (11) near the bit, id. (Lnk. 1919 T.S.D.C.; wm.Sc., Kcb. 1963); †(12) to go one near, to affect closely or deeply. Obs. in Eng.; (13) to look near, to approach, visit, pay attention to, take an interest in (ne.Sc. 1963). See Leuk.(1) Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 357:
A towmond nearabout has run Sin' last we saw thy face, man.
Ayr.1 1910:
I'm nearaboot finished. — I was nearaboot deed wi caul.
Abd.27 1960:
Three fit sax near or nearabout.
(2) Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 158:
He's sic a hard, near-be-gawn miser.
Fif. 1830 A. Stewart Dunfermline (1889) 143:
Ye auld near-be-gaun jade, an' ye'll no let him howk a wee pickle tatties for a puir auld body like me!
Ayr. 1834 Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 249:
Many that were thought of ne'er-begun dispositions shed a tear when it was reported that she had been so destitute.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
It's a gweed thing fan near-b'gyaunness an' gentility rins thegither.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 60:
Sheu wus a nabal, near-bega'n skrunt.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 19. 43:
He wis is nearbegaain is wan could fin.
(4) Abd. 1941 C. Gavin Black Milestone xiii.:
The French was awfu' near-b'hand, and socht a twa-three bawbees afore they would verilys gie ye a drink o' watter.
(5) (i) Sc. 1728 Six Saints (Fleming 1901) I. 34:
The preaching was near-by, for we heard the Psalms sweetly sung.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 228:
A farmer who lived near by.
(ii) Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xlv.:
After a trot o' sixty mile, or near by.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 82:
'Tis fourscore winters nearbye now, Sin' I first follow'd up the plew.
(iii) Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poet. Wks. 18:
Oh! never saw thy wil'-kail seed Near by the poet's houseless head.
(iv) Abd. 1858 G. Macdonald Phantastes (1870) 120:
The cows in a near-by field were eating.
(6) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 157:
Shall Man, a niggard, near-gawn elf! Rin to the tether's end for pelf.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 25:
But peevish neargawin wights an' cunnin, An' for the maist part bent on winnin.
Crm. 1854 H. Miller My Schools xi.:
The blasted old sinner, after a' his neargoingness wi' them, was now but a dyvour bankrupt.
Sc. 1938 M. Innes Lament 13:
Folk hated his very name, he was that near-going.
(7) Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 203:
Fin the young fowk nooadays wun in amon' near geddert siller they fairly gie't a spread.
(9) Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon and Gael III. v.:
I'm no a man that's near mysel'; the wealth he has seen it meet in his providence to bestow on me, I wad like to use in moderation.
(10) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 117:
He's unco near the bane, wi' a' thing it he gees.
Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 11:
The folk o' Aiberdeen are a' byous near the been.
(12) Sh. 1912 J. Nicolson Hame-Spun 57:
It's dis hosiery 'at's goin' me near.

2. Nearer. Obs. in Eng. from 16th c.Sc. c.1829 Lord Thomas in Child Ballads No. 73 F. 37:
And ay at every year's ane They grew them near and near.

3. Nearly, almost. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.Abd. 1758 Session Papers, Grant v. Farquharson (4 Aug.) 15:
Haddo's own Tenants, who could not near drink the Ale of a Boll.
Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xl.:
There very near was a quarrel between them.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
He near missed it: aye, gae near.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums vi.:
I was near daft wi' fear.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 254:
She has been troubled wi' a kin o' dwaminess in her inside for near three weeks.
Rnf. 1928 G. Blake Paper Money 42:
“Ye've taken that house?” “Taken it? I very near bought it!”
Edb. 1995:
I wis gey near deid efter runnin fur that bus.
Ayr. 1999:
A gey near fell. He wiz near fur daein it.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 158:
'I had near forgot,' she said. She lifted a layer of folded linen from the bottom of the basket, and took the book out.
Abd. 2004:
I gey near trippit on a shoogly steen.

4. Narrowly, only just (Sh., Ags., Ayr., Kcb. 1963). Obs. in Eng. from 16th c.Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 67:
Acquentin' him 'tween ilka gabbot, How near he 'scape't frae bein' stabbit.

II. adj. 1. Phrs. and Comb.: (1) as near, nearly of the same degree or quality, near enough (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Kcb. 1963); (2) at the nearest, by the shortest or quickest way (ne.Sc., Ags., Arg. 1963); (3) at the near hand, see Hand, n., 8. (11); (4) near cut, a short cut, a quick or more direct way (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc., now obsol. in Eng. To take the near cut of one, to cheat (Traynor).(1) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 40:
Gin it be sae, ye's be provided here. With may be nae sae gueed, but yet as near.
(2) ne.Sc. 1746 Origins '45 (S.H.S.) 159:
Never going a yard out of the way for a bridge or any burn they met with, but wading through at the nearest.
m.Lth. 1783 Session Papers, Petition Lady Greenwich (5 March) Proof 11:
People passing that way had to go through the fields at the nearest.
Slk. 1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 541:
Lady Jane called me up to her, and asked me if we could pass over to the chapel on the hill at the nearest.
Abd. 1961 Buchan Observer (14 March):
Oh, I cam' throu' at the nearest or I micht ha'e cried in aboot for ye.
(4) Slg. 1756 Session Papers, Buchanan v. Loch (16 Dec.) 15:
People went through his Possession at Keppoch Glin, as a near Cut to the Glins.
Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy G. Chalmers 196:
Boot-gaits are taiglesome, and near-cuts are seldom clean.
Rxb. 1881 Border Counties Mag. II. 126:
I tuik a near cut masel' to strike the Dean.
Ags. 1890 A. Simpson Muirside Mem. 146:
Crossing the plank that makes a near cut to the smiddy.
Abd. 1914 J. Cranna Fraserburgh 66:
The postrunner . . . would gravitate to the links for “a near cut.”

[O.Sc. has neir, nearly, from 1641.]

Near adv., prep., adj.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Near adv., prep., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: