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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.

Nicht, n. Also: nycht(e, nytht, nytcht, night, nyght, nich, nych, nyt(e, nynt; necht, netht, neicht, neycht, neight(e, nette; naycht. [ME. niht, nyht, nyȝt, nyth, ME. and e.m.E. night(e, nyght(e, OE. niht.] Night; a night.

1. Night, as the time of darkness between sunset and sunrise. 1375 Barb. ii. 552.
The King … ilk nycht him-selwyn wouk And his rest apon daiis touk
?1438 Alex. ii. 1898.
Quhether that it was nicht or day
c1420 Wynt. i. 1407.
Wytht-in that yle is ythand nycht
Ib. V. Prol. 50. 1456 Hay II. 108/2.
Scho knew … the cause of the schorting and lenthing of the dais and the nychtis
1533 Boece v. ii. 167.
With … incredibill blythtnes … thai draif the nycht to end
1549 Compl. 155/25. 1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 176/2.
The first mes to be said in the myddis of the nycht
1570 Sat. P. x. 127.
Scho … turnit day in nycht and nycht in day
1613 Haddington B. Rec. 10 Feb.
To mak warning of the tyme of nycht
1676 Dunbar Social Life I. 293.
Let them waitch every neight [etc.]

b. With reference to the onset of darkness or close of day; nightfall. a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 1389.
With that the nycht come
1456 Hay II. 60/15.
And wroucht … to the nycht
c1475 Wall. v. 1068.
Ner-hand the nycht thai lychtyt apon Clyd
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 228.
Quhen it drew to the dirk nycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 470.
Thought I haif cair … the cleir day quhill nyght
Id. lxxxi. 45. 1510 Aberd. Univ. Review XXXVI. 47.
Wile ȝe bide quhile yt be neycht
15.. Wyf Awcht. 101.
Scho draif the day vnto the nicht
1556–7 Edinb. Old Acc. I. 205.
Eftir the nycht fell
1590 Reg. Privy C. IV. 545.
In the glowming of the nicht

c. With adjs. and descriptive expressions, and in comparisons also, transf. and fig., esp. with allusion to the darkness of night. See also Mirk a. 1(1) and Gude nicht n.(1) a1500 Henr. Robene & Makyne 97.
Makyne, the nicht is soft and dry
c1475 Wall. vi. 815.
Quhen that the nycht was dym
a1500 Seven S. 2040.
A farer nycht my self saw nane
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 1.
Apon the midsumer ewin, mirriest of nichtis
Ib. 77.
The lang winter nicht
1513 Doug. ii. x. 109.
Thus sayand, scho hir hyd in the cloys nycht
Ib. xi. 124.
The vgsumnes and silens of the nycht
1531 Bell. Boece I. civ.
My walkrife nichtis
1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvi. 23.
In moneles nichtis it is na mowis
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 155.
At ony time in winter nicht
1629 Justiciary Cases I. 105.
He himself lay out … the rest of that wynter nycht uncoverit
1650 Nicoll Diary 27.
That nicht being a drakie nycht
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxii. 85.
The day wox dirk as ony nicht
(3) 1513 Doug. iv. i. 53.
The profond pot of deth and dyrk nycht
1567 G. Ball. 173.
O Christ … The clude of nycht thow dryuis away
1687 Shields Hind Let Loose 147.
I doubt if upon the back of such a lightsome day there was ever a blacker night

2. Used, esp. with numerals, as a unit of time.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 356.
And thre nichttis he saw [etc.]
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1701.
So … four dayis thai past And four nycht thar-to but hone
?1438 Alex. ii. 1357. 1456 Hay I. 289/25.
Bot a day and ane nycht
1492 Sc. Ant. VI. 24.
All at God made on sex dayis and sewin nycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 34.
For a nicht to byd
1513 Doug. xiii. Prol. 143.
Len me a fourteyn nycht
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 357.
Mony nychtis
1531 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I. 64.
Ilk hors on the nycht 1 pec aitis
1545 Elgin Rec. I. 85.
During auch dais and auch nychis
15.. Aberd. B. Rec. MS. (Jam.).
Ane hard heid the hors in the nycht
1568 Hosack Mary Q. of Scots I. 537.
Quhair she lay the nychtis preceding
1575 6th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. 658/1.
The nycht 3 s.
a1578 Pitsc. I. 337/20.
1616 Misc. Maitl. C. II. 189.
Quha delt with you tua nychtis
1618 Linlithgow Palace 340.
They being ther 2 nytchtis
1627 Black Bk. Taymouth 384.
To haue beine ane nicht with him in his howss
(2) 1535 Stewart 33590.
proverb For wonder lestis bot nyne nycht into toun
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1656.

3. Denoting an occasion or point of time.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xix. 219.
Hapnyt hyme a nycht to ly Eftyre his trawale ful wery
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1857. 1429 Ayr. B. Ct. 121 b (14 June).
Anothir nych ii galon off ale to hors wachys that rade
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 375.
And ay in seiking certayne nyghtis … with our sillie wychtis
(2) 1525 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 112.
Euerie ilk man his nycht about
1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 205.
That all … inhabitaris of clossis furnis … lanternis thair nycht about
1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 15.
Ilk nicht half ane quarter of the said toun for the said watch

b. Used with demonstr. adj. or defining term to indicate the evening or night of a particular occasion or date.Also mornes nicht, Morn(e n. 6 c, Ȝister nicht, etc.(1) 1375 Barb. i. 512.
That ilk nycht writyn war Thair endenturis
Ib. ii. 300; etc. a1400 Leg. S. xii. 30.
Gyf I consawyt haf this nycht A knafe barne
Ib. xxxii. 211. c1420 Wynt. iii. 327.
That nycht
Ib. v. 2180.
This Decius had for that a nycht Wyth-in that cyte tan herbry
Ib. iv. 2662; etc. 1428 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXXI. 143.
To the wache the ferst nich that the Tarbart vas castyn douin
a1500 Seven S. 273.
Sayand that nicht at the lest The child suld leif at thair request
1501 Treas. Acc. II. 125.
The samyn nycht to the lady
1508 Ib. IV. 116. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xviii. 1.
Musing allone this hinder nicht
1507 Lanark B. Rec. 18.
For ryngan of the belis that nycht the prens was borne
1531 Bell. Boece II. 122.
Al this day and nicht bygane my mind … is aflocht
1543 Corr. M. Lorraine 49.
The heland men es gaderet to hare mi land an of ther twa nettes
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1366.
Lat this ane nicht ouirgang
1560–1 Edinb. Old Acc. II. 121.
This nyt I tuk doune thar wagis
1567 Sat. P. iii. 69.
To dance that nycht they said sho sould not slak
a1578 Pitsc. I. 274/19.
Meikill of the day and all that nycht
1594 Misc. Spald. C. II. 124.
Ye said that nycht ye vald pas and vise [etc.]
1596 P. McNeill Prestonpans (1902) 41.
This nycht past
1612 Maxwell Mem. II. 60.
St. Androwis is lukit for this nyte weke
1614 Elgin Rec. II. 140.
Nov. 11th … Ane candill to be givin to the hers this nicht, and fra this furth, and the nichtis of catechising four candill
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI. 381.
In the nycht of his away passing
1623 Crim. Trials III. 549.
That nycht
c1650 Spalding I. 41.
The King … stayit that nicht in Seytoun
1658 Bk. Old Edinb. C. IV. 127.
And this nyt he hes bein very seike
1681 Lanark B. Rec. 205.
A company of leud … persons did the last night make ane infall upon this burgh
(2) 1375 Barb. xiii. 491 (E).
Apon Saynct Jhonys nycht
a1500 Rauf C. 342.
Betuix none of the day and Ȝule nicht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxvi. 1.
Off Februar the fyiftene nycht
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 175/33.
In the nycht of the natiuite of oure Salueour
1613 Haddington B. Rec. (Robb) 10 Feb.
The said Nicoll hes bund & obleist him to play & stryke throw this toun … the Kingis nychts viz. the fyft of August & fyft day of November ȝeirlie
1694 Seafield Corr. 144.
On Satterdays night

c. The nicht, tonight, this night. Also To-nicht.See also Morn(e n. 7 b for further examples. c1475 Wall. vii. 551.
Your selff sall fyrst his blyssyng tak for me: For sekyrly ye seruit it best the nycht

4. In the possessive, in various prec. senses.See also Lair n.1 2, 3 for further examples.(1) 1513 Doug. xii. xiv. 53.
In the nyghtis rest
1560 Rolland Seven S. 645. a1568 Scott xx. 52. c1580-90 Rules of Health.
Ȝour la. nychtis reste or sleip
1584 Acts III. 305/1.(2) 1549 Black Bk. Taymouth 188.
Anent the talkyng of ane nychtis meyt fra [etc.]
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 153.
Synthea, the hornit nychtis quene
1560 Rolland Seven S. 3754.
Of my nichtis dreame
1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 78.
Weryit with the dayis travell and the nichtis watching
1628 Goudie Shetl. Antiq. 181.
1 nyghtis wattill … 4 nyghtis wattill
1633 Lithgow Poet. Rem. 112.
Then there's Lord Constable with his nights crue Of frozen bussards
1674 Rothesay B. Rec. 324.
Awand … a nights meit to himselfe and his family

5. In adverbial phrases.Day and nicht, nicht and day, = always, continually: see also Day n.1 1 b. Nicht (n)or day, by night (n)or day, (n)ever. Cf. also 3 b, c.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xli. 152.
Goddis angele … That kepis me bath nycht & day
c1420 Wynt. i. 214. c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 223.
Sum men sesis neuir to labour nycht nor day
a1500 K. Hart 354.
Both nicht and day
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 7. 1549 Compl. 123/12.
I laubyr nycht and day
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 81. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 2964. a 1568 Sempill Sat. P. xlvi. 47.
Bot nycht and day mon he nocht tyre
a1578 Pitsc. I. 4/6. 1601 Dundee Shipping P. 70.
That hellpit to keep the schip naycht and day
1602 Ib. 73.
c1650 Spalding I. 277.
Letteris, nicht and day, cuming fra the prouest and balleis of Abirdein
(2) a1400 Leg. S. Prol. 102.
Seruand hyme bath day & nychtis
Arundel MS. 241/116.
I pray Thé … Thow helpe me … dais and nychtis
1562-3 Winȝet I. 11/24.
Panceand in His lawis day and nycht
(3) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1757.
Thar all nycht stone-still he lay
?1438 Alex. ii. 337.
The hoste thame restit all the nicht
a1500 Bk. Chess 556.
Thair he bad all nicht
1513 Doug. v. xiii. 10.
Al nycht and day
Ib. vi. xvi. 34.
All the lait nycht
1531 Bell. Boece II. 427.
All nicht
1535 Stewart 1406.
All nycht lang or the tother morne
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 1085. 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 69.
All the nicht lang
a1578 Pitsc. II. 37/8.
That had ridin all the nyght
1627 Dumbarton B. Rec. 13.
Besyde his lying all nyt in prissoun
(4) 1596 Dalr. I. 5/24.
The beimes of the sone … the hail nychte ar sein
1649 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 96.
Thair horssis … lyes amongst the saidis cornes haill nights

6. In prepositional phrases.a. In sing. without article. b. In plur. c. With demonstr. or article. d. In various other phrases.a. (1) a1400 Leg. S. ix. 60.
A hundre syis one day kneland & als oft one nychte prayand
c1400 Troy-bk. i. 454.
Als well one nytht as one the day
Ib. ii. 1959.
Gif thai come thar vpon nycht
14.. Burgh Laws c. 64 (A).
Giff [a burgess] be tane on nycht [B. on the nycht] with cry
a1500 Henr. Fab. 403 (H).
The dog to bark on [Bann. in] nycht and keip the hous
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 404.
It cumis of kynde to thé … To ryde on nycht, to rug, to reue
1533 Boece vi. xv. 218 b.
On nycht birnyng swerdis war sene
1567 Sat. P. vii. 66.(2) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 110 (B).
It is leful to na man to ga be nycht
1456 Hay I. 18/19.
Be nycht secretly
1513 Doug. xii. xiii. 171.(3) c1420 Wynt. i. 578.
Na man may Cum nere thaim thar be nycht or day
1545 Montgomery Mem. II. 138.
Neuer … be neycht nor daye
1579 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 124.
Nouther be nycht nor day
1588 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 41.
We ar dalie menassett boythe be neicht and day
1614 Inverurie 197.(4) 1567–8 Crim. Trials I. 501.
Upoun the Sounday at nyt
1568 Lanark B. Rec. 41.
Quhill viij houris at nycht
1599 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 36 a.
Wpone ane Seterday at neycht
1631 Inchmahome Pr. 139.
For beir att neighte
1659 Hay Diary 126.
At nyt I went about familie dutie
1667 Cullen Kirk S. Nov. 17.
Thomas Allardyce … confessed that he drank late on Saturday at night
(5) 1679 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 284 (21 Feb.).
At ellevin aclock a nicht
(6) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 428.
And ondir nycht quhyle stall thou staggis & stirkis
1531 Bell. Boece II. 34.
Throw feir of lowe and smouk under nicht
1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 291.
To cum upoun hir under nycht
1588 King Cat. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 205/33.
Quhen the ane [high tide] fallis on the day, the vther do fall vnder nicht at the lyk hour
1612 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 1 b (9 Dec.).
Becaus he was drunkin and it wes vndar nicht
1667 Dumbarton B. Rec. App. i. 7.
He being at Thomas Waker's door under night
(7) 1579 Black Bk. Taymouth 147.
Gyf a man be dissasyt be drynking of vyne owyr nyght
(8) 1375 Barb. vii. 236 (E) (seed (1) below).
Inwyth nycht
1546 Treas. Acc. IX. 45.
Withtin nycht
a1500 Henr. Fab. 403 (Bann.) (see (1) above).
In nycht
b. 1375 Barb. vii. 506 (E).
Fra Carlele on nychtis ryde And in cowert on dayis bid
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2019 (H).
I sall fulfill … ȝour bidding Quhat euer ȝe charge on nichtis or on dayis
a1585 Maitl. Q. xxxviii. 80.
Sa monye starris ar nocht in nichtis sein
c. (1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 3083.
Pollydamas on the nicht … passit richt To the Grekes
c1420 Wynt. vi. 798.
On a nycht
14.. Burgh Laws c. 75 (B).
Na fleschhewar sal sla flesch … on the nycht
c1475 Wall. iv. 267.
On the nycht
c1510 Prester John 310 b.
One ane netht quhen he wes … in his bed
1516 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 38.
xxiiii men … to wak one the nycht quhill daye
1535 Stewart 52544. 1541 Elgin Rec. I. 62. 1549 Treas. Acc. IX. 351.
Sylk to bynde on the saidis muchis on the nycht
c1550 Lynd. Meldrum 56.
Lyke ane houlet on the nicht
1568 Anderson Collect. Mary IV. ii. 82.
Uppon the suddan on the nyght
(2) c1400 Troy-bk. i. 470.
Men mytht see wpone the nytht Hillis and waillis
c1475 Wall. (1968) ix. 637.
Lundeis luge thai left apon a nycht
a1500 Seven S. 894.
This … knycht … apon the nycht Past in
1533 Boece iv. xvi. 154 b.
Apoun the nycht
1547 Reg. Privy C. I. 73. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 168.
Vpone the stromye nycht
1608 Inverurie B. Ct. 26 Apr.
All hors … lying out wpone the nycht
(3) 1375 Barb. xiv. 355 (E).
Ydymsy … leyt it owt in to the nycht
c1420 Wynt. vii. 2747. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 656.
Into this nycht a visioun couth appeir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6910. 1513 Doug. iv. x. 93.
Into the dyrk nyght He gan hym hyde
1561 Q. Kennedy Compendious Ressonyng (ed.) 176/4. 1567 G. Ball. 107.(4) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 288.
Bot to that thing has he na sycht That thocht or don is in the nycht
c1450-2 Howlat 58.
Aganis natur in the nicht I walk in to weir
1490 Irland Mir. I. 114/4, 7. 1551 Hamilton Cat. 148.
Certane schipherdis keiping thair weche in the nycht
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 327.
Ilk man in Edinburgh to haue his lumes fullof watter in the nynt [sic]
1580 Inverness Rec. I. 282. 1596 Dalr. I. 94/19. 1606 Edinb. B. Rec. VI. 21.
1679 Laing MSS. I. 416.
An murther commited in the neight
(5) 14.. Burgh Laws c. 56 (A).
Na buchor sal sla bestis within the nycht
1544 Corr. M. Lorraine 72.
On Fowresday last was within the necht
1560 Rolland Seven S. 6015.(6) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1730.
At the nycht the tempestis stout Dowbled
1562-3 Winȝet I. 23/5.
At that nycht at euin
a1540 Freiris Berw. 451 (B).
To bring him hidder … And namely now so lait in to [M. vpon] the nicht
d. (1) Brus vii. 236 (C).
It wes weill lat of [E. inwith] nycht be then
1600-1610 Melvill 403.
Let at night
1680 Cramond Ch. Grange 36.
By haveing … danceing … in his house late upon Saturdayes night
(2) 1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i. 133 b.
It is not lesome to travell in time of nicht
(3) c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 727 (D).
And in great seylence of the nyght To the cite of Troye went ryght
1471 Acta Aud. 20/2.
Cummyng vpoun the said Walter vnder silence of nycht
a1500 Seven S. 868.
Wnder the nychtis myrk scilens Thai maid the myne
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 499.
All closse vndir cloud of nycht thou cukkis
1513 Doug. ii. vii. 64.
Throu the silens of the nycht
1524 Carnwath Baron Ct. (ed.) 27.
For vrangus setin on Jhon … onder the clud of the nycht
1558 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 309. 1587 Edinb. B. Rec. IV. 502.
Beand furth … vnder clwd of nicht in drynking and harletrie
1588 Reg. Privy C. IV. 284.
Undir cloude and silence of nycht … be way of brigancie
1601 Elgin Rec. II. 92.
The puir litle anis quhilk gretis throch the toun under the silens of nycht
1619 Ib. I. 239.
Be way of hamesucken … undir cloud and silence of nicht
1623 Linlithgow B. Rec. 20 Sept.
For comeing uithin cloud of nicht [etc.]
1641 Elgin Rec. I. 269.
Wnder silence of nycht

7. Attrib. and comb.a. Of inanimate things: For the night, for use by night. b. Of persons or animals, or of actions: Operating or active by night, taking place during the night. See also Nicht-bonnet, -cap, etc.a. 1623 Fraser P. 236.
Ane nyt chalmer goun of Inglis claith lynit with freis
1603 Treas. Acc. MS. 242.
Ane bowster … ane nicht cod
1566 Ib. 72, etc.
For making of the nycht geir
1600 Ib. 69.
For keiping of his nicht geir
1603 Montgomery Mem. 249.
For four par of night glouiss
1643 Edinb. Test. LX. 239 b.
Nicht graith bagis
1663–6 Household Bks. Archb. Sharp MS. 16.
For a halking bagg for my lord night graith
1603 Montgomery Mem. 247 (see Heir-les n.). 1632 Lithgow Trav. 315.
A traine of powder about the touch-hole [of a gun] and above it a nighthouse to keep the trayne dry from the nights serene
1544 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 206.
Ane nycht mantile
1632 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 235.
Ane nicht pok of blew
1551 Treas. Acc. X. 18.
To be kemmyng claithis, nycht quaffis and napkynnis … holand claitht
1551–2 Ib. 47.
To be nycht quaffis to my lord governour
1561 Inv. Wardrobe 129.
Holand claith … to mak nicht quaiffis for the Q.
1522 Treas. Acc. V. 193.
For x elnis of claith for nycht sarkis to the Kingis grace
1527 Ib. 303, 305. 1586 Ib. MS. 85.
Hardin to be nycht scheittis to the haill stabillis
1659 Craven Ch. in Orkney II. 198.
A old neight weastcoat
1599 Treas. Acc. MS. 79.
Fyne small plaiding to be him twa nicht wyliecoittis
1643 Spalding II. 233.
Out of hir naiked bed in hir night walycot
b. 1612 Fraserburgh Kirk S. i b (15 July).
[Several men accused] of nicht drinking
1673 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. MS. 17 Jan. 1679 Torry Coal & Salt Wks. 54 b; 77.
Andro Chrysty night grieve
1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 1.
Dyonea, nycht hyrd and wach of day
1640 Anal. Scot. I. 383.
When the armie com to thair night leager
1590–1 Crim. Trials I. ii. 235.
He appointit tyme and place for thair nycht meting
1513 Doug. i. Prol. 262.
Than the nycht owle [R. nyght oule] resemblis the papyngay
Ib. iv. viii. iii, vii. Prol. 105. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Rev. iii. 3.
I sal cum as a nycht theef to thee
Id. John x. 1; etc. 1696 Salmon Borrowstounness 447.
A night vager

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