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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Na, a. and adv.1 Also: nay(e, nae, (), nea, ne, ney. [North. ME. na, midl. and south. no, early na (a 1200), reduced f. nān Nane, orig. only before consonants. Cf. No a.] No; not any.For Na man, Nathing, Na uther, etc., see the separate entries.Also in various common phrases, as na bourd, bute, compare, dele, dout, ferly, kind, manere, tent, time, valu, valour, worth, q.v. under these words.

1. Accompanied by other negatives. a1400 Leg. S. vii. 59.
Na clays of sylk he wald nocht were
Ib. xxviii. 392. 1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 34.
That he sall nocht resayve na resignasyovnys … of na landys … to na mannys profyte na na confyrmasyovne gif thar apoun
c1420 Wynt. ii. 475.
Na thai couth fynd na lyvand man In all thai landys
Ib. v. 2251.
In na sted na in na quhylle
Ib. viii. 729. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 48 (A).
Na man sal herbry na mesall within burgh
1431 Ayr & W. Coll. I. 228. 1460 Hay I. 193/19. Alex. (Taym.) 3302.
Na thare is na obligacioun worth that is oblist till impossible thing
1472 Lennox Mun. 87. 1500 Acta Conc. II. 437. 1510 Reg. Privy S. I. 326/2. 1512 Ib. 374/1.
That we nevir had nor has na richt thairto
1515 Douglas Corr. 318.
And nayne of us agre ne intercomenyng of agrement with the Duke of Albanye
1524 Stirling B. Rec. I. 20. 1538 Breadalbane Doc. No. 49.
He hes nocht disponit na part of his gudis to nan vtheris
1549 Compl. 100/6. 1562 Inverness B. Rec. I. 77.
Quhat the counsell did … suld nocht be of na adwayll
1567 G. Ball. 144. a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. clxxv. 25. 1570 Breadalbane Lett. 29 June.
I will nocht cum nay cautionar haifand nay dubit of my lord bot of wtheris
1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 339.
He culd neuer haue na wnderstanding bot that [etc.]
c 1590 Skene Celtic Scotl. III. 431. 1592 Crim. Trials II. 323. 1598 Brown Paisley I. 168. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 353. 1605 Edinb. Test. XL. 305b.
That thai [children] get na wrang of na persone
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. 19 Aug. 1638 Aberd. B. Rec. III. 123.

b. Followed by the conjunction nor (na).(a) 1375 Barb. i. 214.
Takand na kep to rycht na skill
Ib. 596. Ib. iv. 170 (C).
Thai … na wittaill na fwaill had
a1400 Leg. S. ix. 123. Ib. xviii. 99.
Thare wes na vourd of idilnes, Of gold na siluire na ȝet riches, Na of ony thinge temporale
Ib. xxviii. 52. 1388 Douglas Chart. 33. 1389 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 17.
For na cause gifin na for to be gifin
c1420 Ratis R. 618. 1413 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 364. 14.. Burgh Laws c. 62 (B). 1457 Reg. Episc. Brechin I. 183. 1490 Irland Mir. MS. 200 b.
And nocht be na coaccioun na necessite
1513 Doug. v. xiv. 48. 1533 Bell. Livy II. 326. 1533 Gau 4/21. 1555 Acts II. 493/2.
Na persoun nor persounis
1562 Edinb. B. Rec. III. 134. 1595 Brown Paisley I. 166.
Na ky, stirks nor other beists
(b) 1491 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 255.
Nay chaplane of the college nor vtouthe
(c) 1550–1 Perth Guildry 273 (20 Feb.).
That ne hugstair top nor sell the forsaidis gudis

2. Without other negatives.Passing into 3 and 4.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 59.
For thar mycht succed na female Quhill [etc.]
a1400 Leg. S. xxviii. 50. 1389 Charter (Reg. H.).
In the qwhilk lettre thare was na gyving to borch
1402 Dundee Chart. No. 22. 1413 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 365.
Na remede in lach … agayne standand
c1420 Ratis. R. 1497. 1483 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 48.
That na hammerman [etc.]
1490 Irland Mir. I. 28/7.
Thai that are full of … prid … has litile ore na part in this haly orisoune
1521 Fife Sheriff Ct. 280.
& na justice done on thaim
1531 Bell. Boece (M) I. 35.
I think na besynes sa proffittabill as to [etc.]
Ib. 272, II. 333. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 219.
I haue na barnis bot ane sone
Ib. 354.
In na sort
Ib. 8356.
Onlie ane sone he had, na barnis mo
1571 Black Bk. Taymouth 137.
Gret frost that na plwis ȝyd
1572 Sat. P. xxxii. 55. 1572-5 Diurn. Occurr. 279.
Bot few or na lordis come
a1578 Pitsc. II. 126/17.
Our crowne … hauldis of na king bot God and the Lyone
1588 King Cat. 15.
No wark … [thought] hard, na labour paneful
1594 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lxxv.
That na sik thing hes bein thair
1596 Dalr. I. 78/20.
Abrogat and of na effecte
a1585 Montg. Maitl. Q. lxiii. 16.
Na erthlie thing
1614 Aberd. Council Lett. I. 125.
That thair is naway to win by the infeftment
Hope Major Pract. II. 26. 1644 Aberd. B. Rec. IV. 20.(b) 1491 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. I. 257.
Gif he hes nay gudis of his awin
1507 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 436. 1531 Reg. Soltre 104. 1533 Gau 95/25.
That ve tak nay euil occasione of thayme
1549 Compl. 94/12.
Ald Tarquine gef nay ansuer
1556 Crail B. Ct. 19 Oct. 1564–5 Breadalbane Lett. No. 38.
We can get nay lasar as ȝet
15.. Crawford Mun. Invent. I. 90.
For he has nay vyll of the trying of the byssines
(c) 1601 Birrel Diary 53.
That nae wool be transportit out of the countrie, and that nae clothe come hame
c1616 Hume Orthog. i.
Nae tuae … wald agree
a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 246.
The lords … will allow of nae advocatts heirefter bot oinlie 50
1652 Glasgow B. Rec. II. 225. 1686 G. Stuart Joco-Ser. Disc. 15.
We ha' nae hewrs
(d) 1583 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 78.
He had nea toung for to denye it
(e) a1400 Leg. S. xxx. 501.
Thu has ne scham
Ib. xxxii. 266. c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 595.
God wat ne falt of flesche haid he
1570 Leslie 181.
He had ne commissione to treat upoun any matters
1586 Cal. Sc. P. VIII. 359.
That ne immodest minister suld be tollerated to preache
1599 Paisley B. Rec. 226.
His foir tenement … hes ne waltir drop
(f) c 1560 Old Ross-shire I. 13.
The samyn on ney wais shuld be deliuerit on to theme

b. Qualifying nouns in parenthetic phrases with adv. significance.As na faill (= without fail), na lesyng (= truthfully), na tyme (= never), na questioun (= unquestionably). a1400 Leg. S. l. 395.
[This] is bot foly, na lesyng!
c1420 Wynt. v. 1577.
That thare wale ware na tyme lewyde
?1438 Alex. i. 207.
Alexander sall find, na faill, This day that [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1252.
To this gude wemen will not nay, na tyme nor tyde
1570 Sempill Sat. P. xii. 15.
Bot na compair, ane kings sone to ane knaif
1572 Ib. xxxii. 15.
Haue we ane lyart, na baid bot all is thairis
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 31.
Sa … na question it is not a sacrament
1599 Elgin Rec. II. 71.
Na fishes to be sauld na day in the mornyng quhill the prayeris be said

c. Na litil, not a little, greatly: see Litil(l a. 13 c.

3. Qualifying a noun in the predicate, weakened to simple negation: Not (a).Na mowis, see Mow n.3 2 b (2).(a) a1400 Leg. S. xvi. 232.
Ydolis … That war na makaris bot war mad
? c 1400 Rep. Hist. MSS., Varr. Coll. V. 77.
That our soverayne lorde the Kyngis counsale is na cowrte to plede for na herytage na lyfe na lym in
?1438 Alex. ii. 4139.
At stering him semit na page
c1420 Wynt. vi. 2162.
He is na man … bot off the Dewyllis strynd
c1450-2 Howlat 239.
Thir ar na fowlis of reif
1468 Crawford Mun. Invent. II. 4.
That he was na man to Wat Lindesay in the tym
a1500 Henr. Fab. 458 (Ch.). 1482–3 Acta Conc. II. cxxvi.
That the said landis … war wedset to the said Johnne … and na fee and heretage
1490 Irland Mir. I. 5/10.
Of this is na marwell
1492 Acta Conc. I. 241/2.
Because Martimes is na terme for tennentis to flit
1501–2 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 642.
The sad ratour is na evident of heretegh
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 298, 359. Id. lii. 4. 1528 Acts II. 322/2. 1540 Lynd. Sat. 432.
I am na medcinair
1556 Glenluce Baron Ct. in Carnwath Baron Ct. (S.H.S.) cii.
Becaus thai ar na barony men
1571 Lanark B. Rec. 59. 1597 Crim. Trials. II. 6. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1535.
Thiggers sould be na threiperis
Ib. No. 1659.(b) 1471 Lindores A. 165.
That John … sowlld be nay ballȝhe

4. Having the effect of negating the whole phrase, clause or sentence which contains the qualified noun.(a) 1375 Barb. i. 15.
Swa that na tyme of lenth it let
Ib. ii. 122. a1400 Leg. S. iv. 339.
Thinkand na ewil
Ib. v. 86. 1412 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 389.
Gif he has na hus
c1420 Wynt. i. 1470.
In this chawngyng God made na wrocht na wnkouth thyng
Ib. viii. 1935, ix. c1420 Prol. 30, 365, vii. 101 (W). 14.. Reg. Maj. c. 44.
That in that mut batal sal tak na sted
c1450-2 Howlat 217.
Quhill the lardnir was laid, held he na hous
Ib. 329. 1456 Hay I. 197/24. Ib. 110/34.
And tharfore has he na charge
c1460 Consail Vys Man 124, 280. c1475 Wall. vi. 94. a1500 Peblis to Play 105. a1500 Seven S. 331, 1635. 1495 Acta Conc. I. 389/1. 1508 Treas. Acc. IV. 116.
For ane muld for ane gun making that maid na stede
1516–17 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 77.
Makand na mentioun that it was ane lawit patronage
1540 Lynd. Sat. 2913.
For to be fals thinkis thow na schame
c1540 Id. Kitteis Conf. 21. c1550 Id. Meldrum 64. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 1179. Ib. 9383. a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. cxi. 11.
Thair will na kyndnes blude nor band Gar sum thair credence keip
a1578 Pitsc. I. 349/18.
My parochinaris … understud na Lattin
1586–7 Reg. Privy C. IV. 139.
He … lippynning for harme [etc.] … of na persoun
1597 Elgin Rec. II. 61.
That na misordour or baudrie be committed thair
1611-57 Mure Misc. P. xv. 20.
To na frailtie thrall
1623 Peebles Gleanings 17.
Lippining na injurie
(b) 1531 Reg. Soltre 104.
He sall put nay bestiall vpon the inland girs
1534 Wigtown B. Ct. 301 b.
That thai suld tourne the lard of Corswell to naye pregydeis
(c) 1569 Prot. Bk. J. Scott. MS. 86.
And mak nae fayth heirefter
c1616 Hume Orthog. 8.
Seeing now we heer nae Romanes
1622-6 Bisset II. 221/26.
Næ pryses to be decerned withtout [etc.]
1641 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 165.
And nae peyment maid

5. Qualifying an adjective-noun group, implying the opposite of the adjective.Esp. na litill, no little, great.(1) 1513 Doug. xiii. i. 82.
Lavynya has thé cost na litill thyng
1533 Boece 6.
Na litill parte of the kinrik fra thame bereft
1533 Bell. Livy II. 32/18. c1610 Melville Mem. 338.
I had na litle a do
(b) 1563 Breadalbane Lett.
I haif nay lytill marvell that [etc.]
(2) 1596 Dalr. I. 7/36.
Na small quantitie of leid
(3) 1566 Facs. Nat. MSS. III. lii.
And vther tryffilis of na greit valu
(4) c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 359 (M).
He wes na glaidsum gaist for no gay lady
1583 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 532.
Tak thir thrie for na saikles lambes

6. adv. With comparative adjs. or advs.: Not any, not at all.Also Na les, Na ma, Na mar(e. a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 226.
Rekand na forthire na hir neke
14.. Burgh Laws c. 21 (B). 1442 Edinb. B. Rec. I. 7. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 109, 1228. a1500 Rauf C. 30. 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 104.
And list na langer tary
Ib. 1327 (E).
Na vppermair
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 200.
He is at Venus werkis na war na he semys
Id. vi. 93. 1513 Doug. i. vii. 80. Ib. vii. vi. 98, 144.
Na slawar
1543 Edinb. B. Rec. II. 114.
For ij s. the pynt and na darrer
1549 Compl. 10/19.
Na bettir
1552 Reg. Cupar A. II. 106.
Off na gretar degre … nor thame selfis
1568 Anderson Coll. Mary II. 72. 1572 Buch. Detect. (1727) 139.
Na ofter
1580 Hay Cath. Tr. (S.T.S.) 46. 1587 Acts III. 456/1.
[To] haue na furder strenth
1587 T. Morris Provosts of Methven (1875) 67. 1600 Crim. Trials II. 198.
Na hear of degrie nor thame selffis
a1628 Carmichael Prov. Nos. 582, 587.
God send na war

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"Na adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2022 <>



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