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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).

Nether, Nather, a.1 Also: nethir, -yr, -ar, neither, neythyr, neather, (nechtir); nathir, naith-, nayther. [ME. neoþere (Ancr. R.), nyþere (c 1300), neþer (14th c.), neiþer, neyþer (1387), ME. and e.m.E. nether, neither, neyther, e.m.E. neather (1590), OE. neoþera, niþera. Cf. also Ned(d)er a.] Lower, under (often in contrast to over, uver).

1. The lower (part, end, side, etc., of anything). 1375 Barb. x. 21.
The nethir half wes perelous; … On the owthir half ane montane was
1431–2 Newbattle Coll. 20 Mar.
Lyand in … the nethir end of my awn tenement
a1586 Lindsay MS. 43.
Ane litill fassone of ane trumpet hingand at the nether newk of ane scheild
1490 Irland Mir. I. 151/28.
The nethir fundament of the leddir
Ib. II. 37/19.
Sa was the saule of Jhesus … in the nethir place of the erd and hell hoc est in limbo
1542 Exch. R. XVII. 570.
Et de liij s. iiij d. terrarum de nethir thrid de Glendorome
1550 Douglas of Morton 682.
Upoun the nether syde of the Westhawburn
1552–3 Cart. S. Giles cv.
To the nether end of ane piller
1587 Acts III. 522/1.
And the edge of the bottom … be pairit outwith toward the nethir syde
1591 Elgin Rec. II. 17.
Walter Innes in the nether end of the toun
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 484.
Now I stand in the nether side of my desires
1638 Bamff Chart. 253. 1640 Cuningham Journal 18.
Into the neather end of the garter
1649 Gillespie Usefull Case of Conscience Discussed and Risolved 18.
A cake not turned: hot and overbaken in the neither side
1686 Ch. in Orkney 34.
To repair the neather part of the pulpit

2. Applied to the lower-lying of two or more places of the same name.(a) 1363 Reg. Great S. (1814) 30/1.
De … tenementis de Ovirmerkhill & de Nethirmerkhill
1387 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 11. 1408 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 377.
Adam Forstar lorde of Nethir Lebertoun
1424 Ib. IV. 388.
Terras de … Nethirbulgny, Wuirbulgny, Midilmast Bulgny
1464 Liber Scon 179.
Ex terris de Nechtir Colan
1498 Acta Conc. II. 279.
His tak … of Awmernes Uver and Nethir
1521 Fife Sheriff Ct. 209.
Al & sindry the landis of Ramkelour nethir
1562 Reg. Cupar A. I. 355. 1563–4 Reg. Privy C. I. 260.
James McGill of Nethir Rankelour, Clerk of Registri
1581 Reg. Great S. 146/2. 1601 Brechin Test. I. 205 b.
Willeam Walcar in Nether Kinmont
1614 Orkney Rentals II. 133. a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 211. 1638 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 441.
Over Altar lands and Nether Altar lands of Foverane
(b) 1661 Galloway P. 4 Feb.
Of Neither Clachan
1683 Cullen Kirk S. 25 Nov.
A bridge at Neither Buckie
(c) 1572 Reg. Privy S. VI. 303.
Of the landis of Nather Pirnes
1596 Dalr. I. 17/23.
Vuir Clydisdale … as lykevyse Nathir Cludisdale
1604 Inchaffray Reg. 135.
Ovir and Nathir Gorthyis
1656 Craig-Brown Selkirkshire II. 390.
The Nather Maines of Gallaschiels

b. Applied to streets and other places in towns. 1407 Misc. Spald. C. V. 19.
In vico qui dicitur ly Nethirkirkgate
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 84.
The Nethir gait undir the crag in Strivelin
1513 Ib. IV. 516.
To the Nethir port of Sanct Mary Wynd
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 210.
At the Nather Bow
a1578 Pitsc. II. 251/24. 1608 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 50. 1611 Aberd. Council Lett. I. iii.
In the heid of the Natherkirkyett
1641 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 258. ?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. III. 30.
The other was a wyfe at the Neither Bow

c. With other terms denoting localised features, buildings, districts, or the like.(a) c1420 Wynt. viii. 4450 (W).
The Scottismen held the nethir way
1451 Melville Chart. 34.
Of the nether est quarter of Gowre
a1500 Peblis to Play 185. 1480 Macleod P. MS. (Reg. H.).
All and hale his nethir watter of Ythane
1488 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. i.
To the nethar yard
14.. Reg. Episc. Aberd. II. 205.
Le nethyrmanys
1501 Ib. 340.
The southt chek of the nethir yet of the sade Vilyamis yarde
1506 Douglas Chart. 185.
The nethir forrest of Cummyrnawld
1507 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 151. 1513 Treas. Acc. IV. 526.
For the theking of … the nether tour
1530 Acta Conc. Public Aff. 324.
Cliddisdale uvir ward and nethir ward
1540 Lynd. Sat. 1385. 1544 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 250.
Le nethir fery boitt … le vuer fery boit
1547 Prot. Bk. Sir Wm. Corbet 8. 1551 Reg. Cupar A. II. 69.
The nethyr wodys
1559 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 129.
Beginnand at the nether cairn
1566 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 212. 1569 Crail B. Ct. MS. 17 Apr.
The merches of the Rylland bayth ower and nether
1574 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 238. 1581 Acts III. 270/2. 1614 Ayr Chart. 147. 1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 323. 1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II. 121. 1652 Stirling B. Rec. I. 201. 1664 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. I. 573.
The saids nether or new built cruives and dyke
1696 Stitchill Baron Ct. 120.(b) 1459 Rep. Hist. MSS. Var. Coll. V. 82.
Al the land that is to part this day neythyr feld and owyr feld
(c) 1548 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXIX. 50.
Thomas Reid … for the nathir oxingang ij s.
a1578 Pitsc. II. 266/34.
At the nathir blockhous
1598 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 175.
Mylvart at the nather mylne
1608 Echt-Forbes Chart. 129.
The salmond fishing of the nather watter of Don
1641 Acts (1817) V. 560/1.
Landis of over & nather mure
1644 E. Loth. Antiq. Soc. IV. 32. 1664 S. Leith Rec. 120.
The nather hospital
(d) 1562 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. civ.
Offecer of the nayther waird of Lyddesdayll
1683 Stirling B. Rec. II. 38.
The Over and Naither Hospitallis foundit in the said brugh
1578 Glasg. Univ. Mun. I. 120.
The Paradyce yairdis vuer and neather
a1639 Spotsw. Hist. (1677) 252.
To the neather balȝe (so they call the part by which they descend to the river)
1684 Lauder Observes 136.
From the nather toune to the upper toune

d. transf. to a person. 1657 Melrose Reg. Rec. I. 139.
Johne Halliewooll, nether

3. Applied to other objects.(1) c1420 Wynt. iv. 2322.
Wytht his left hand he held downe The nethir lape thare off his gowne
1552–3 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 75.
The nether portell
1554–5 Ib. 165.
To the geisting of the nether stair
1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 314.
The expensis … upon the nether turngris
1578 Ib. IV. 75.
Tua wyndois callyt nether wyndois … with tua ovir wyndois
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 53.
The ane to be put in the nether joggis and the uther in the over joggis
(2) c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 16/5.
Betuix thire twa as the nethir & ovire milstane
1624 Peebles B. Rec. I. 365.
The auld mylne … the nether stane sewyn inches … the overstane foure inches

4. a. That occupies a low situation in a building; that is situated lower in a building (also, a coal-mine) than another or others; (the) downstairs, ground floor, basement or cellar (room, etc.) = Laich a. 3 a and b. a1500 K. Hart 388.
Our lord … That ȝit is law amang the nether bowris
1498 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 75.
Vnder the payne of putting in the netherhole incontinent
1510 Prot. Bk. J. Foular I. 122.
He has put ane end of his gest in the nether hous in the said Williamis gavill
1530 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 29.
Ane passage betwix the Kingis grace over chalmeris and nether chalmeris
1539–41 Ib. 286.
The nether silour of the chapell
1565 Prot. Bk. J. Scott MS. 25.
In the nether studye ane stuill
1595 Edinb. B. Rec. V. 145. 1612–13 Misc. Spald. C. V. 92.
For transporting of the stokkis out of the nether wolt to the tolbuithe
1629 Rutherford Lett. (1862) I. 47.
To remove from one corner of our Lord's nether house to another
1671 Dunferm. Coal Acc. 4b.
For redding the haseing to dry the nether roum

b. Denoting the lower part of a specific building = Laich a. 3 c. 1553–4 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 284.
The sarkle about the uter nether tolbuyth quhar the justice sittis
1554–5 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 148.
To beir up the haill tymmer of the brandraucht of the heich tolbuith to the nether tolbuith
1565 Bk. Univ. Kirk. I. 57. 1573 Sc. Ant. XIII. 31.
The place of examinatioun to be the nethar counsall hous
1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 115.
That the said javelour … keip the over, nether tolbuythis, lordis and tounis counsalhoussis … in sic cleinnes [etc.]
1600-1610 Melvill 384.
The nather counsall-hous
1672 Kirkcaldy B. Rec. 6 May.
James Porterfield hypecondrik in the nether tolbuith

c. That lies underneath; that forms the lower or lowest part of (the thing in question). 1674 Edinb. B. Rec. X. 200.
The nether bed of the baisse of the pillars
1616 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 340.
The kirnellis corballis and reckis to be all aboue the rigging of the tolbuith … and the nether beddis thairof to be with the rigging

5. a. The lower (lip or jaw).(1) c1515 Asl. MS. I. 169/24.
And sum men has thair nether lipe samekle that it coweris thair face fra the son
1595 Edinb. Test. XXVIII. 256.
Dauid Thomsoun … being … havelie trublit & diseassit with the cancer in his nether lip
1622 Perth Kirk S. MS. 15 Oct.
And cancer fallin in his nether lip
(2) a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 796.
The piper wants meikle that wants the nether chafts

b. The lower (parts of the body), the fundament or buttocks. Nether conditt, the anus.(1) a1500 Henr. III. 152/71.
Ane vnce of ane oster poik at the nether parte
c1600 Medical Recipes 90.
The ouir part of ane man and the nather end of a voman that is to say the navill the vames [etc.]
1641 Sc. Hist. Rev. IX. 364.
When Jock did send home, he wrote it for news That England warr'd Ireland in wearing of trewes: For Ireland but weares them on their nether parts But England on both their heads and their hearts
(2) 1533 Boece xiv. xiv. 568 b (see Condit(e n. 2 a).

6. This nether warld, the nether world, the earth as opposed to heaven, or the infernal regions as opposed to the earth. 1456 Hay I. 76/17.
It is necessair thing that this law warld … be touchand next to the speris of the hevin sa that throu thame all the vertue of this nethir warld be governyt
1659 Fugitive Poetry II. xxix. 3.
You are The man praefiguired by that forraine starre That visitt did the neather world … What houses … saw you, my lord, in hell?

7. Less advanced, junior (class in a college). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 9.
Thys classe sal … compone largear themes than the nether classis

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"Nether adj.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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