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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.

NILE, n., v. Also nyle (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (23 Jöne)), näil, and aphetic form ile-, from wrong division of a nile. [nəil, Cai. əil]

I. n. The plug in the nile-hole of a boat, the bilge-plug (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 154, 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1964). Comb. (n)ile-hol(e), a hole in the bottom strake of a boat for draining out bilge-water (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Cai. 1956, ile-; Sh. 1964, nile-).Sh. 1894 J. Nicolson Tales of Thule 65:
And still it gains, no more — no more a doubt, The nile — the nile is out.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (11 Feb.):
I grövelled among da ooster an' da pilticks fil I fan da nyle.
Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. 65:
Dey hed ta clew up and pit da nile in.
Sh. 1956 Shetland News (4 Dec.):
Boats would be upkummelled or their niles stolen.

II. v. To plug the nile-hole of a boat (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1964).

[Norw. dial. nygla, O.N. negla, a bilge-plug, Norw. dial. nygla, to plug a nile-hole, nyglehol, a nile-hole.]

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



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