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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 hand, Neir hand, adv. and prep. Also: ner, neire, neyr, neer, near(e and hande, and neirand. compar. nearer hand. [ME. (? orig. north.) and e.m.E. nerhand, nerehand (Cursor M.), e.m.E. neere-, near-hand, e.m.E. nerer hand compar. (1582): cf. Hand n. 6 a. Cf. also Ner hand.]

A. adv. 1. Near at hand, close by. (Of place or time). = Nere adv.2 1 and 2.(1) 1375 Barb. xii. 108 (E).
Quhen thai the Douglas saw nerhand, Thai wandyst
Ib. xvi. 538 (C).
Men … That duelt on Hummyr or neirhand
a1400 Leg. S. vi. 99.
A blak hund that ves nere-hand
Ib. xxxiii. 279. 14.. Acts I. 36/2.
His nychtburis that duellis neyrhande
?1438 Alex. ii. 493; etc. c1420 Wynt. viii. 6714.
Neire hande
c1475 Wall. vii. 468.
Ner hand
1535 Stewart 51247.
Neir hand
1571 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 654/2.
I wald skarslie hawe belevit ye would haue bene neir hand and wesiet me nocht
1596 Dalr. I. 44/4.
Vthiris … touris [are] erected to dryue away theiues neirhand
Ib. 41/10.
1616 Rollock The Passion 213 (Jam.).
They were standing … so near hand that he speakes to them
1629 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 307.
Ner hand
1638 D. Dickson in Sel. Biog. II. 17.
[It] infects every man that comes neir hand
1644 Fraser Polichron. 292.
1665 Boyd Fam. P. No. 267 (3 Jan)
All … wther priviledges perteining thairto farr aff as neir hand
compar. 1635 Dickson Wr. 55.
So the restless soul, by fleeing of danger, puts itself nearer hand
(2) 1375 Barb. v. 307.
Till Palmesonday that ves neir hand
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 378.
The day of the Lord is now near-hand

b. Close to (till, unto) a person or place or the performance of some action. = Nere adv.2 6.Also, in a similar manner (to), nearly in accordance (with).(1) 1375 Barb. ix. 129.
Till the Slevach thai com neirhand [E. ner hand]
1600 Elgin Rec. II. 79.
To play at the chew within the burgh or outwith neirhand to the samyn
a1652 Dickson Psalms I. 307.
Being far from Him in their hearts when with their lips they draw neer-hand unto Him
Ib. II. 124.
As straits do serve to drive the godly more and more neer-hand to God
(2) a1652 Dickson Psalms II. 152.
A beleever may prove weak in the faith, … and be neerhand unto the quitting and renouncing of it
(3) 1531–2 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 160.
Jhone Bennat … depones elyk wais or ner hand thairto

2. a. Nearly, almost, all but. = Nere adv.2 4. b. With terms of number, quantity, etc. = Nere adv.2 5.Ner hand as, almost as if.a. (1) a1400 Leg. S.xxi. 703.
Thare-for of wit he ȝed nere-hand
Ib. xxvi. 725.
Sancte Nicholas has me … nere-hand slan
Ib. xxxii. 398.
Nerhand dede
?1438 Alex. ii. 10516.
Thair hors … War woundit neirhand out of lyue
c1460 Alex. (Taym.) fol. 281 b.
Now neirhand I haue endit
a1500 Henr. III. 91/52. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 758. 1535 Stewart 18957; etc. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 8778.
Quhen dennar neir hand it was at end
1563 Reg. Privy C. I. 247.
The wallis in sindrie partis ar revin … neir hand the ane side from the uther
a1578 Pitsc. I. 407/6.
1600 Acts IV. 204/1.
Quhan they had neir hand dynit
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xxxii. 126.
Bot brynt in that fel desyre Ner-hand as he ware in fyre
b. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 268.
Turne to hym wald ner-hand nane
Ib. xxix. 133.
& lay stil ane oure nerehand
Ib. iii. 293, xxxi. 160. ?1438 Alex. ii. 476. c1420 Wynt. viii. 3926. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 255/26.
He subiect to his obedience all Irland and Yngland to Themes nerehand
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 114.
Neirhand the space of fouyr yearis
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcv. 16. ?1549 Monro W. Isles 14.
The said Elsay being neir hand midsa betwixt the said marches
1608 M. Napier Mem. J. Napier 315.
Neirhand the thrid of Merchistoun
1651 Brown Paisley I. 261.
Twa horse and nerehand half an horse

3. (? At) close quarters, hand to hand. 1596 Dalr. II. 281/14.
Tha fell to neir hand with naket swordes

B. prep. 4. Near or close to or upon. = Nere adv.2 8–12.(a) 1375 Barb. iii. 716.
Quhen thai the land wes rycht ner hand
a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 56.
Quham-euir he fande In that swythare hym nere-hand
c1420 Wynt. i. 576.
Bot gryphys gret nerhande thaim ar
1455 Acts II. 45/1.
Thai that ar ner hande the bordouris
c1475 Wall. v. 882.
The Sotheron saw how … Wallace abaid ner hand thar chewalry
Ib. 1068.
Ner hand the nycht thai lychtyt apon Clyd
Ib. ix. 1484.
a1500 Seven S. 829.
Ner hand
(b) 1375 Barb. ix. 685 (C).
As he com … Neirhand the hous
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1823 (Bann.).
Quhill it drew neir hand none
a1500 Rauf C. 66.
I wait na worthie harberie heir neir hand
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxii. 79.
I say nocht, schir, ȝow to repreif, Bot doutles I ga rycht neir hand it
1513 Doug. Prol. i. 487. c1510 Prester John 311 b.
And thar neyr hand thar is ane vthir desert
1535 Stewart 56650.
The sone neirhand the erd did creip
1551 Hamilton Cat. 74. 15.. Dum Wyf 96.
I dar not cum neirhand hir
? a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvii. 13. 1577–8 Reg. Privy C. II. 666.
The said Alexander … wes not present at the doing thairof nor neir hand the samyn
a1578 Pitsc. I. 413/12. 1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 772.(c) 1633 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 89.
It is near-hand the dawning
1635 Dickson Hebrews 47.
Obstinate disobedientes … lye neare hand final offcutting
Id. Wr. 80.
Not afraid of woe nor aware of it when it is very near hand them
c 1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 513.
Two bays meat nearhand ther

C. 5. Comb. or in conjunction with other advs. or preps. = Nere adv.2 13.(1) 1375 Barb. xvi. 478.
adv. Quhill the Dowglas So neir hand by thair nychtbour was
a1500 Seven S. 181. 1535 Stewart 435.
Of nychtbour men that duelt than neirand by
Ib. 32547.
Neir hand by
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 917; etc.
This ladie ludgit neirhand by
1560 Rolland Seven S. 2908.
And in ane gutter he kest it neir hand by
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxix. 20. 1616 Crim. Trials III. 390.
Ȝe sould haue them neirhand by
1640 Maister George Blacke His Masterlesse Men 5.
A young man, who was a gentlemans servant near hand by, in my neighbour paroch
1375 Barb. xviii. 498
Riweus that wes by neir hand
1535 Stewart 11190. Ib. 54734.
Of mony Scott wes neir hand buskit by
prep. 1375 Barb. vi. 381.
In Douglasdaill … Or ellis weill neirhand thar by
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 242.
For nere-hand by the cite war Fare forestis and parkis wyd
c1420 Wynt. ix. 878.
He boltyd wp weile nere hand thame by
1535 Stewart 698.
His men that stude him neirhand by
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 7111.
adv. Thow sall ryde efter the Bauderane, Neir-hand besyde
1535 Stewart 51246.
Ane vther strenth Neirhand besyde wnder ane hingand heuch
a1540 Freiris Berw. 502.
Ȝe mone be on the flure Neirhand besyd
prep. c1420 Wynt. ix. 2569.
Tyl hald thaim in mare sikkyrnes Than nerhand a se besid

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"Nere Hand adv., prep.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2023 <>



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