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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Nere, Neir, adv.2 (quasi-adj., prep.). Also: ner, neire, neyr(e, neer(e, nire, near(e. compar. Nerar. superl. Nerest. [ME. and e.m.E. ner, nere, neer(e, north. ME. neir (Cursor M.), e.m.E. nyer, near(e, ON. nær orig. compar. adv. (= Nere,compar. adv.1, prep. and a.2), used absolutely or governing a dative: cf. also Ner.] Near.In predicative use after the verb substantive and in other similar constructions, passing into the adjectival sense: cf. Nere a.1

I. 1. (To approach) to or within a short distance. 1375 Barb. ix. 136, 8 (E).
The Erlys men ner [C. neir] cummand war Trumpand and makand mekill far, And maid knychtis quhen thai war ner
Ib. xvi. 109. a1400 Leg. S. xvii. 134.
Thane scho a prest gert cum ner [: hale and fere]
Ib. xix. 534. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 2835.
Sche … syne drewe neir
?1438 Alex. ii. 1246.
And gar him rew his neir cuming
Ib. i. 815.
a1500 Rauf C. 842.
c1475 Wall. v. 126. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 705.
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 512. 1596 Dalr. I. 38/23.
That pairt of Albion eistward is flowed neir and run by with the mane sey
c 1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 530.
Coming on both syds so neer that they leave onlie a myle of land
1679 J. Barclay Descr. Cath. Ch. 24.
All their fleeces do to me belong And though my sheirs goe neer I do no wrong

b. (To be, be situated, etc.) near by, close by, near at hand. 1375 Barb. x. 241 (E).
Thai that ner [C. neir] enbuschyt war Lap owt
a1400 Leg. S. xxxi. 386.
Scho … bad hyr say [that] scho wes nere
1456 Hay I. 178/32.
And thare [are] sa mony [holy places] sa nere in the contree
a1500 Henr. III. 91/44.
Perauenture my scheip ma gang besyd Quhill we haif liggit full neir
c1475 Wall. iii. 173. Ib. viii. 201.
We ar our ner
a1500 Seven S. 540.
Ane pure herd … Come in the forest neir hastely
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 161.
Ther is no spy neir
1567 G. Ball. 116.

c. (To press, pursue, etc.) at a short distance, closely. ?1438 Alex. I. 2873.
Oft quhan thay him preissit neir [: cheir]
Ib. 3042, 3049, ii. 1681. 1456 Hay I. 204/35.
His inymyes … pressit him sa nere that [etc.]

d. Closely, in fig. applications. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 1177.
It tuichis myne honour sa neir [: ansueir]
1518 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. 214.
Considering it tuichit thame sa neire
1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvii. 19.
Bot men [may] bourd als neir And wemen nocht the wor quhen that is done
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 169.
And that he did ymmediatly at the same tyme write the same word by word as neere as he possibly could carry the same awaye

e. Coupled with fer (far), see also these words. 14.. Reg. Maj. c. 45.
Frely to pas quhar he will ner or fer
1513 Doug. vii. xiii. 104.
The rowtis for supple baith neir and far
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxviii. 60.

f. On nere, at close quarters. ?1438 Alex. ii. 2377.
To behald on nere In hir visage polist clere

2. Of time or events: Close at hand. a1400 Leg. S. i. 660.
Quhen that awfull our com ner of thar end
Ib. 328, v. 549. 1456 Hay II. 149/30.
The destructioun of thé and thy realme approachis nere
c1475 Wall. viii. 353.
a1500 Seven S. 1546.
1582 Waus Corr. I. 256.
Quha lut the dyettis approche sa neir
1594 Warrender P. II. 43.
Quhil the tym of the Quenis being lighter drew neer

3. Near, closely related (in or of kin or blude).See also Kin n. 2 b for further examples. c1420 Ratis R. 1063.
Gyf thyne amouris be to thé To nere of kyne or alye
1456 Hay I. 191/10.
Othir cousynis … quhilk ar nocht sa nere of blude
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 311, II. 246. c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 966. a1585 Maitland Maitl. Q. xvii. 17.
How neir of bluid that euer thay be
1570-3 Bann. Trans. 179. 1580-92 James VI Lusus Reg. 51.

4. Nearly, almost, all but.a. With verbs or participles. b. With adjs. or adj. or adv. phrases. c. In hyperboles.a. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 753.
His wame bolnyt ner and rafe
?1438 Alex. i. 2090.
That neir ane douncome can he maik
Ib. 3029.
Thi nekbane was neir bristing
Ib. ii. 4208. c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1755.
Bolned with watter, nere deand
c1420 Wynt. ii. 456. Ib. iii. 853, viii. 5346. c1420 Ratis R. 1672.
Al kind away is worne sa ner [: here]
1490 Irland Mir. I. 6/5.
a1500 Seven S. 1580.
Neire speche and sicht ar fra me reft
1527–8 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 93.
One to the tyme … thatthe mercat be neir doun
1533 Boece vii. vii. 234 b.
At the first rusche Romanis … war nere ouresett be schott of [etc.]
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus i. 751. 1570 Sat. P. xiii. 126.
Ȝe … neir schot him and his wyfe
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xli. 8.
The nicht is neir gone
1611-57 Mure Hist. Rowallane 237.
The reviveing of the neer expyred & almost outworne knowledge of [etc.]
a1686 Turner Mem. 120.
A little money … was all well neere spent before we got out of Amsterdame
b. 1375 Barb. ix. 253 (E).
Till thai ner [C. neir] at assembling wayr
a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 232.
A ȝung man … tellis nere how the same Til his brethyre tyd & his dame
Ib. xxx. 674.
c1420 Wynt. iv. 2086.
A low out off that ryfft Strak wp evyn nere to the lyfft
Ib. iii. 598. a1500 Henr. Fab. 301 (Asl.).
c1475 Wall. vii. 307.
The myddyll off ane he mankit ner in twa
Ib. xi. 1437.
I haiff said her ner as the proces gais
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 349 (H).
Off temporale proffit quhilk is nere prophane
1494 Loutfut MS. 20 a.
Foullis quhilkis has nocht sa gret significacioun to be sa nere of natur humane as the bestis
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 208 (Ch. & M.).
Id. xxxv. 19.
1513 Doug. iii. vi. 136.
Hir hynd partis ar als gret, weil neir, As beyn a hydduus huddon or a quihaill
1531 Bell. Boece I. 224.
Thay war … al thre nere equal in yeris
Id. Ib. (M) II. 243.
Quhen the dennair was neyr reddy
1587 Maxwell Mem. II. 162.
My howis … being sa neir apoint
1644 Laing MSS. I. 214.
Nowe we find our oversight when it is verie neire too late
c. 1375 Barb. ii. 199.
Owt off his wyt he went weill ner [: Schir Amer]
a1400 Leg. S. vii. 621.
Nere he cane briste but abad Syke yre in his hart he had
Ib. xxvii. 193.
Of hyre wit scho ȝed nere wod
?1438 Alex. ii. 1352.
Clarus brint neir for matelent
Ib. 4093. a1500 Henr. Orph. 128 (Asl.).
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 993. 1492 Myll Spect. 273/10.
It weill neir dryvis the lyf out of mye febill body
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1063. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvii. 102.
For lawchtir neir I brist
Ib. lvii. 14.
For covatice ane vther neir swownis

5. With terms of number, quantity, extent, etc.: Nearly, almost.Also ellipt., = nearly all. 1375 Barb. vii. 568 (E).
I trow thai war thre hunder ner
Ib. xvi. 360. Ib. 453, 6.
Wele ner eschapyt nane … Weile ner [C. neir] all left the lyvys
Ib. i. 345. a1400 Leg. S. xii. 373.
Mathi … sa can lere That he the knawlage van vel nere As he harde of all the lawis
Ib. xl. 428, etc. Ib. xl. 737.
Be-owt the ton, Nere the quartare of a myl
?1438 Alex. ii. 4400. c1420 Wynt. iv. 992. Ib. 1256. 1456 Hay I. 47/20. c1475 Wall. i. 208.
Ner xxty ȝer of age
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 418.
That now is namyt neir of all nobilnes
1531 Bell. Boece I. 46.
The Scottis and Pichtis that abaid in Albion nere twelf yeris
1641 Bk. Carlaverock II. 140.
Neir thir tuo hunderethe ȝeris
1653 Hist. Fragm. III. 53.
And one of dragounes, about neire 400 apiece
1661 Lamont Diary (1810) 174.
They were nire a monthes tyme in buelding of it
1691 Kirk Secr. Commonw. 77.
And discover him selfe near a bow-shot from the first place
ellipt. ?1438 Alex. ii. 2656.
The King of Massidone … That of this warld nere lord is
c1420 Wynt. vi. 672.
All Ingland he wan off were And Irland nere

II. quasi-adj. 6. (To approach or to be) near or close to (till, unto, towart) a person, place or thing, a point in time, or a state or condition.Also const. infin., to be nearor close to doing (to do) something.(1) 1375 Barb. v. 615 (C).
Quha suld cum neir to ȝow bot I?
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 215.
& quhen he come til hyre wele nere, He lichtyt
c1420 Wynt. iv. 458.
Quhen it nere drewe to the nycht
a1540 Freiris Berw. 45.
As thay wer cumand towart the tovne full neir
1549 Compl. 6/11.
The hagbutaris past neir to the camp of ther enemeis
(2) 1375 Barb. xix. 501 (E).
Wp on the watre and als ner [C. neir] Till it as thai beforouth wer
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1491.
Ȝhour nyghboures … That bene to ȝow rytht nere marcheand
?1438 Alex. ii. 344.
To Effesoun full nere we are
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3298.
And to the toun thai sett thare watchis nere
1596 Misc. Maitl. C. IV. 44.
His gallies then being aflott nere unto the shore
c 1600 Crim. Trials II. 294.
Now Sir Alexander waited all this tyme so neir to the King
1633 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 387.
Other commodious plaices neir unto salmond fishing
1650 Lamont Diary 20.
He [Charles II] lodged att wmqll Hewgh Scrimgeours house nire to the abey
(3) 1531 Bell. Boece (M) II. 114.
Quhilkis … hes brocht ȝoure commoun wele neir to vtter exterminioun
(4) ?1438 Alex. ii. 9107.
Gaudefere That to fulfill his vow was nere

7. Closely related in blood, or closely attached in attendance or in friendship, to another. 1375 Barb. v. 613 (C).
‘A! schir, vmbethinkis ȝow,’ said he, ‘How neir to ȝou that I suld be’
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1782 (C).
And al that he couythe … Was to the crowne nere be lenage He gert be slayne
1443 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 44.
Sin he and yhoure frendis ar bath sa nere to vs
c1490 Irland Asl. MS. 47/1.
For the luf of tham that thow prayis for that … ar sa neir to thé outhir in blud or amitee
1592 Acts III. 559/2.
Calling to remembrance how neir and attingent his hienes darrest cousing … is in blude … to his maiestie
1596 Dalr. I. 108/1.
Euerie nobil man neir to the Bischope … turnet in to the Bischopes lugeng cheiflie
Ib. II. 118/20.

III. With omission of to etc., as prep.

8. (To approach or to be) close to or within a short distance of (a person, place or thing).For examples with Nech(e v., Nich v., see these words.(1) 1375 Barb. vii. 524 (E).
Quhen Schyr Amery … Wes cummyn sa ner [C. neir] the King that [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. v. 4466.
Quhill nere Rome he come
Ib. iv. 201. 1596 Dalr. I. 40/3.
Sche … cumis nevir ner thame
(b) a1500 Seven S. 2333.
For to cum neir the castall wall
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxi. 20.
Oft thow hes refusit Till cum ws till, or ȝit till merk ws neir
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 6.
So neir approchit he his wyntir stage
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 77.
None may go neir thame at thare eis
c1550 Id. Meldrum 1307.
Nane durst cum neir him, hand for hand
15.. Wyf Awcht. 63.
I trow he lowtit our neir the low
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xciv. 78.
Lat never harlat cum ȝou neir
(2) 1375 Barb. iv. 378 (E).
Thai war enbuschyt the castell ner Armyt apon thair best maner
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 42.
Thare is … a locht nere that cyte As lyk a se nere to be
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 208.
Ryght bysyde the hye alter Not ferre one lenth but it full nere
c1420 Bute MS. 173.
Falows raysys vp yhour ankyr for it lyis oure nere vs
1456 Hay II. 132/29.
Than suld men have gude fyris … and nocht to halde thame our nere the fyris
c1475 Wall. v. 914.
Rycht ner the steid quhar [etc.]
(b) c1420 Wynt. ix. 1543.
The Scottis hieland-men Ware neire [C. nere] the wattyr off Ile then
a1500 Rauf C. 91.
Quhill thay war neir hame
1524 Armstrong Hist. Liddesdale I. 220.
The said Erle sall not remain neire the bordouris
1596 Dalr. I. 28/12.
The craigs of Madin Castell neir Edinburghe
1646 Sc. N. & Q. i Ser. XII. 61.
No pretching because Montrose vas so neir us
1668 Lauder Jrnl. 190.
The laird of Carberrie … not desiring the battell should be to neir his house
(c) 1631 Justiciary Cases I. 177.
At the signe of the Beare neere the bridge foote

b. ellipt. (To do something) at or to a place or point near (a place). c1420 Wynt. ii. 860.
In the fyrst buk gyffe that yhe Wele nere the last end rede and se
c1475 Wall. v. 416.
Als Kerle wyst, gyff Wallace leyffand war, Nere Dwnypace that he suld fynd him thar
a1500 Seven S. 420.
He set … Ane gret iornay wele nere his place
1501 Laing MSS. I. 5.
Thai hafe eryt sa verray nere the said myln dam
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 438.
Be his [sc. the hangman's] prentice nere the bank
a1540 Freiris Berw. 512.
Neir the dur ȝe hyd ȝow prevely
?c1675 J. Gordon Hist. III. 128.
One [battery] was layd neer the Grey Freer churche
1663 Rothesay B. Rec. 299.
That the said gavill is buildit sumquhat neir the said Robert Mwir his tenement
1693 Fraser in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 217.
No woman is yet tolleratt to be buried neer the great church

c. Governing quhare (also thairof).(1) a1400 Leg. S. xv. 213.
[They] dalf it … ner quhare Gebeseis hade … dwellinge to tham made
c1420 Wynt. i. 201.
A child bad him he suld draw nere Quhar that he said he saw a dere
1456 Misc. Bann. C. III. 96.
Ner quhar hymself thinkis to ly
(2) 1627 Justiciary Cases I. 73.
Because of ane brydell that was keipit neir thairof

d. Const. be (= by, within) a stated distance. — a1500 Henr. Fab. 943 (Ch.).
Se neir be twentie mylis quhair I am The kid ga saiflie be the gaittis syde
15.. Christis K. 77 (M).
Be ane myle it come nocht neir him

9. Close to, almost (at) (a point in time). 1375 Barb. xvii. 130 (E).
Quhill it wes ner [C. neir] none of the day
c1475 Wall. iii. 69.
For it was nere the nycht
Ib. viii. 325.
a1500 Rauf C. 799.
a1508 Kynd Kittok 13. 1519–20 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 55.
Quhill ner Martynmes
1533 Bell. Livy I. 82/10.
Nere thare perfectioun and lauchfull age
15.. Clar. ii. 189.
It was neir awcht houris in the day
1681 Lauder Observes 42.
To neir the end of June

10. Close to the time of (doing something); close to (achieving something). a1400 Leg. S. xxii. 534.
A kyrk … sic ned had of mending That it was nere the donecummyng
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 3015.
Vlixes that deid was neire
1672 Acts VIII. 82/2.
That the Lords of Sessioun every session goe neir the discussing of all causis enrolled that session
1677 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 37.
[And also to deliver to the said John Tait the said cow] when I have gottin the proffeit of hir shoe being neir giving over callfes beiring

11. Closely related to or associated with.Also with ellipsis of the noun or pronoun referred to. 1375 Barb. i. 380.
All him luffyt that war him ner
c1475 Wall. v. 919.
Off kyn he was, and Wallace modyr ner
Arundel MS. 283/157.
I commend … my … fathir and mothir [etc.] … my familiaris and neir me

12. In various fig. or non-material uses.Nere one's hart, dear to one. c1420 Ratis R. 775.
Quhill one of thaim thi hart is nere, Baith thocht and wyll is set one stere
1456 Hay I. 284/1.
The quhyte colour … is maist nere the nature of lycht and claritee
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8821.
The verray treuth … ȝe haue gane neir
1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 46.
Heir the mater quhilk he had raschel[ie] brocht on, wes neir the poynt
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 434.
Bot to cum neir the wordis [of the text]

b. Neir the messour of, = sense 5. — 1575 Glasgow Chart. I. ii. 165.
Ane ladill full … quhilk is neir the messour of ane ferd pairt peck

IV. 13. a. Comb. or in conjunction with other advs. or preps. or adv. phrases.Viz. about(s) (-bute), at (also on) hand, before, besyde, by, and see also Nere by, Nere hand and Nere thareby.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1240 (C).
All landes that nyghboures wer To Troye or about it ner
?1438 Alex. ii. 98.
Had I thame all haill and feir About me ay to be me neir
1452 Douglas Chart. 78.
The toftis and the park lyand … nere about the said castell
1456 Hay I. 212/19.
And was lorde and syre our all thai contreis nere about him
16.. Symson's Descr. Galloway (1823) 114.
Neirbute it is the riuer Ken
c1650 Spalding II. 172.
Certane clovssis of water quhilk overflowit the boundis neir about the toun
a1500 Bk. Chess 1120.
Thar nedis no luftennand ner about
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xviii. 59.
Thair brald a bissat neir about
1646 Earl of Loudoun Severall Speeches (Edinburgh, 1646) 23.
But that his majesty shall … come to … some of his houses neer-abouts
16.. Symson's Descr. Galloway (1823) 114.
Neirbute this Ptolomee placed the city Leucophibia
(2) 1375 Barb. iv. 367 (E).
Till that the nycht wes ner on hand
Ib. xvii. 583.
Thai chassyt sa ner at hand That ner a thowsand deyt thar
c1420 Wynt. ix. 638.
For thai war costayid nere at hand
(3) 1456 Hay I. 51/10.
Thai come till a place Canosse that was nere before Puylle
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke i. 19.
I am Gabriel, that standis neire before God
(4) 1375 Barb. v. 329 (C).
The castell that besyde wes neir [: here adv.]
Ib. xiv. 388.
Besyde thame ner [: gud cher]
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 54.
In the cunctre nere be-syd
?1438 Alex. i. 1370. Ib. ii. 4044. 1533 Boece viii. v. 258 b.
For he was nere beside awating the fyne thareof
1535 Stewart 28892.
Into that schire With euerie scitie that wes neir besyde
1551 Reg. Privy S. IV. 221/1.
The uthiris landis … lyand neirbesyde the burgh of Lanark
1622-6 Bisset II. 394.
Ane chapell neir besyde Sanct Gelis Grang
(5) 1375 Barb. xiii. 437.
The King Robert … Held ay his gude men neir him by
Ib. xvi. 198. a1400 Leg. S. iii. 234.
That cite … That nere set uas by in the way
?1438 Alex. i. 1667; etc. c1420 Wynt. v. 1987.
Had noucht the fadyre nere bene by
Ib. 3914.
All powr [folk] that wes nere hyr by [C. nere by]
Ib. viii. 3289.
Nere in that land Than wes a yhowman by duelland
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxviii. 132.
Thy buttis biggit neir thame by … Maist plesand place of archerie

b. With adjacent, attingent. a1578 Pitsc. I. 89/18.
All vthir pairtis that war neir adiacent vnto him
1606 Acts IV. 353/2.
Lodovick Duik of Lennox … is … neir attingent in consanguinitie to his hienes
1626 Antiq. Aberd. & B. IV. 289.
The King … to quhome he was attingent neir in blud

c. Ner or close together. 1564 St. A. Kirk S. 217.
The deponar can nocht tell quhidder thai lay ner together or syndry

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