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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.

NICHT, n., v. Also necht (Abd. 1926 L. Coutts Lyrics 47), neicht (Sh. 1888 Edmonston and Saxby Naturalist 184), neight, nycht (Sh. 1961 New Shetlander No. 57. 24). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. night. [nɪçt, Cai. nɛɪçt. In I. and s.Sc. the Eng. pronunciation predominates.]

I. n. Sc. form: wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 21:
Oh aye, ye'll be mistress o' sich cherms
When ye lie a' nicht in yir bridegroom's erms ...
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 215:
Was I begotten in a nicht o steamy passion, the caff-seck rustling and snug?
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 46:
' ... All this suffering, all this long dark nicht, and for what? You say you heard nothing, but when I look up at Graham's head, I sometimes fancy I hear him laughing at us.'

Sc. usages:

As in Eng. Derivs.: (1) nichtless, having no night (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (2) nichtlins, adv., at night, nightly. Used adj. in quots.; (3) nichtly, id. (Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 34).(2) Ags. 1882 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) IV. 316:
Saft as the step o' the nichtlin's fa'.
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (27 March) 7:
He'll hae's fling, an' kick up a gey binner Or he gets his nichtlins waucht o' Rhenish.
(3) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 13:
Her fause lief hebber owre the ling Did wale his nichtly way.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 30:
I daander nichtly aa my lane.

Combs. and Phrs.: (1) a nicht amang the dockens, see Docken, 2.; †(2) a nights, by night, in the night. Arch. in Eng. See also Anicht; (3) a'nicht things, fuel and water brought indoors and stored overnight for use in the morning; (4) nicht-at-e'en(ie), — -a-teenie, evening, children's playtime before going to bed; (5) nicht-beetle, a night-flying beetle making a buzzing noise, such as the dor-beetle, Geotrupes stercorarius (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1964); (6) nicht-bield, overnight shelter. See Bield; (7) nicht-bouer, a bed-chamber. See Bour; (8) nicht-boun, prevented from travelling by the fall of night, night-bestead. See boun, Bun; (9) night-bussing, a nightcap, erron. in Jam. as -hussing. See Buss, v.1; (10) nicht-caip, -kep, = Eng. nightcap, lit. and fig. See Caip, Kep, n.1; (11) night-clock, a night-flying beetle (Sh., Kcb., Uls. 1964). See Clock, n.2 and (5); (12) nicht-come, nightfall (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (13) nicht-cowl, = (9) (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Hence nicht-cowled, wearing a nightcap. See Cowl; (14) nicht-fa', nightfall. Gen.Sc.; (15) nicht-goun, a nightgown (Edb. 1844 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) VII. 225). See Goun; (16) nicht-hawk, (i) a large white hedge-moth (Cld. 1825 Jam.); (ii) = (5) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (iii) a person who roams about by night, a vagabond (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Ayr., Kcb., Uls. 1964). Hence ppl.adj. nicht-hawkin (Ib.); (17) nicht-mare, -meer (Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1885) I. 81; m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 45), nightmare; (18) nicht-mirk, the darkness of night (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). See Mirk; (19) nicht mutch, see Mutch; (20) nicht o' the greeance, the celebration held on the evening after a couple have given in their names for proclamation of marriage. See Greeance, 2.; (21) nicht-raker, one who roams by night. See Rake. Also in Yks. dial.; (22) night-sark, a nightshirt (Ork. 1964). See Sark; (23) nicht-side, the course of the evening (Sh. 1900 Shetland News (26 May), Sh. 1964); †(24) night thought, in weaving: a species of net (see quot.); ¶(25) night-wait, a serenade; (26) sowans nicht, see Sowens; (27) the nicht, — n(e)ight, tonight. Gen.Sc. See The; (28) the Nicht afore the Morn, see Morn, 3. (3).(2) w.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Reports ii. i. 11:
They canna learn much a nights.
(3) Abd. 1899 G. Greig Logie o' Buchan vi.:
“Wid ye gang oot for the a' nicht things, lassie?” . . . The girl understood the order, and went away for water and peats.
(4) Gsw. 1862 J. Gardner Jottiana 112:
Ahint the pleugh, at nicht-at-e'en Gaun drivin hame.
Ayr. 1875 A. L. Orr Poems 33:
At nichts-at-e'en, when schule was owre.
Lnk. 1884 T. McLachlan Thoughts 60:
He thinks na o' bairnies, nor their nicht-a-teenies; Whit cares he for fun, or a Hallowe'en nicht?
(6) Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 101:
The auld ruin'd shed, That sae lang had gien nicht-bield tae Fluke's auld Fish Cairt.
(7) Sc. 1827 G. R. Kinloch Ballad Bk. (1885) 38:
There the sweetest music play'd Till we did for nicht-bouer call.
(8) Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 9:
An' wi' a nicht-boun' beggar share Biel an' brose baith.
(9) Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck x.:
Her mutch, or night-bussing, as she called it, was tied close down over her cheeks and brow as usual.
(10) Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm xix.:
What d'ye wint at sic an oontimeous hoor . . . whan honest fowk's a' i' their nicht-caips?
Abd. 1912 G. Greig Mains's Wooin' 7:
They're sittin' at the cheek o' the fire wi' nichtkeps on.
Lth. 1915 J. Fergus Sodger 18:
Though the wife gi'ed him a nicht-kep, he got a' stapp'd-up an' bleary.
(11) Gall. 1822 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 232:
I would even become a night-clock, or a hooting-owl.
(13) Sc. 1799 “Anacharsis” Poem to Bailie T. Smith 15:
He twirls his night-cowl or his wig.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary viii.:
Your honour will be killed wi' the hoast — ye'll no get out o' your night-cowl this fortnight.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 140:
I'm nicht-cowl'd for the nicht, An' bedded too.
(14) Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie iii.:
Crossing seven miles o' muir after nightfa' to see my lassie.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 57:
I canna say when I'll get a return train, but it'll likely be nichtfa'.
Ags. 1927 V. Jacob Northern Lights 20:
It's nichtfa' sune, we're workin' only.
(15) Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums vi.:
She was barefeeted and had just her nicht-goun on.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 176:
They were a' up noo, sittin in their nichtgoons roon the fire.
(16) (iii) Rxb. 1884 W. Brockie Yetholm Gypsies 41:
The country people used to call the Gypsy men “night hawks.”
(17)Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 2:
Chooks sunken like the craters o the meen;
A stibble growth; ringed nichtmares roon his een,
A wastit druggie hyters doun the street:
(20) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 97:
This meeting [between the parents of the young couple] goes by the name of the beukin nicht, or the nicht o' the greeance.
(21) Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lads' Love xx.:
Some daft, gallivantin' nicht-rakers.
(22) Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle viii.:
He would stand for hours in his night-sark at the window.
(23) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (10 Dec.):
If Willie id been some boys, diel wird he'd sung i' da nicht side.
(24) Sc. 1808 J. Duncan Weaving II. 200:
Of the other species of nets, it will not be necessary to say much. The varieties are chiefly in the crossings of the bead lams. One of these, invented at Paisley, and generally called the night thought, probably from its having occurred to the mventor when in bed, has been much admired.
(25) Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 178:
Something they ca' serenades — or, as we would say, night-waits.
(27) Sc. 1766 Clerk Saunders in Child Ballads No. 69 B. 3:
We hae but ae sister, And behad, she's lying wi you the night.
Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 154:
Yestreen the queen had four Maries, The night she'll hae but three.
Sc. 1836 J. Baillie Witchcraft i. i.:
Bawldy: The night, leddy? Anna: Yes, to-night.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders i.:
The Black Deil hunts himsel' the nicht.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 13:
Ye're no sae far awa the nicht, my Marget.
Gsw. 1924 J. H. Bone Crystal Set 11:
I'm late the nicht, guid wife.
s.Sc. 1931 Border Mag. (April) 53:
What's wrang wi' ye th' neight, auld yin: I've no' seen ye on the floor yet.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 49:
night, the Tonight: 'Naw, it's no the night, it's the morra night.'
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 10:
Oh well, I'm on. See yous both the night.
Rs. 1996 Alec John Williamson in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 171:
'I'd even dance the fuckin' de'il himself aff his pegs the nicht!' she said, shouting it out to everyone there.

II. v. tr. 1. To darken, to cover with darkness. Ppl.adj. nichted, -it, nighted, of things: darkened, covered by night; of persons: benighted, overtaken by night (Abd. 1964). Also fig. Hence nichting-time, the time when darkness brings outside labour to an end (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Rare and obs. in Eng.Ayr. 1785 Burns Address to Deil xii.:
And nighted trav'llers are allur'd To their destruction.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 187:
I had strong hopes that she had been nightit and staid there until day.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xviii.:
I maun be stappin', or I'll be nichtit.
Sc. 1880 Jam.:
The sun 'clipse nichted a' the lan'.
Dmf. 1894 R. Reid Poems 64:
Some nichtit traveller, storm-sted.
Sc. 1979 T. S. Law in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 81:
Thare is naething byordinar tae yer nichtit ee
atween the day ye saw an the day ye daenae see,

2. tr. To spend the evening with, to visit in the evening.Sc. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff iv.:
“How often did he come to see you?” . . . “He nichted me twice a week regularly.”

3. To pass the night, 1962:
I nichtit at the Buchan Arms.

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



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