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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.

Neve, Neiv(e, n. Also: new(e; nive, niwe, nivve; neave, neawe; neeve. [ME. neve (c 1300), north. e.m.E. neive (1674), neave (1684), ON. hnefe, nefe (Norw. dial. neve, næva, Sw. näfve, Dan. næve). Cf. Nefe and Nave.]

1. A fist.(1) 1375 Barb. iii. 581.
Newys that stalwart war & squar That wont to spayn gret speris war
Ib. xvi. 129 (see Nave n.2).
a1400 Leg. S. xxvii. 251.
c1420 Wynt. ix. 1278.
Swa held he Wellis be the neve, That wp he helpyd hym to rys
Ib. viii. 6980.
1456 Hay I. 155/9.
For gif he wald strike me with his hand and I strike him agayne with my neve
a1500 Lanc. 1221.
1513 Doug. iv. xii. 58; etc.
Nevis [v.r. neffis]
1535 Stewart 56342.
1576 Crim. Trials I. ii. 61.(b) 15.. Clar. iii. 601.
Romaryn rave hir hair out with hir neives
a1605 Montg. Ch. & S. 1552 (Wr.). Id. Misc. P. xxxii. 68.
A pretty play … Quhair tentles bairnis may to their tinsall tak The neiv with na thing, and the full refuse
1639 Baillie I. 220.
1651 J. Hope Diary 149.
[In a dream] I keeped his [a lion's] body in my neive
1662 Highland P. III. 24.
There was a hole in it that ye micht put your neive in
(c) c1590 Fowler I. 117/138.
[He] was opning wpp his hand and palme and falding than his niwe
1558-66 Knox I. 146 (see Nevell v.).
1668 Corshill Baron Ct. 85.
In strickeing of his wife with her fist or nive
1684 Stranraer B. Ct. 23 Dec.(d) 1601 Crim. Trials II. 358.
1628 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II. 364.
For stryking of Janet McIlrae … with ane rock and hir neawes
1637 Baillie I. 21.
(e) 1629 Dundonald Par. Rec. 292.
(2) ?a1500 Dewoit Exerc. 69.
With oppin handis and lukin newis
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 73.
The said George tuike him with his steikit neive upon the face
1623 Orkney Bp. Ct. 51 b.
With his falded newe
1662 Justiciary Ct. Rec. I. 35.
With his folded neive
1668 Culross II. 167.
Chopped upon the counsell tabell with his fauldet neeve
1683 Fountainhall Decis. I. 254.
For giving him a mortal stroke … with a stone in his folded neive

b. = Grasp; hence, possession. 1573 Davidson Sat. P. xlii. 427.
The teindis will not cum in thair neuis Sa lang as ony of vs leuis

2. As a measurement of the stature etc. of horses: The breadth of a fist, a ‘hand’. 1672 Melrose Reg. Rec. II. 292.
Ane … black staige … with tua neive longe of haire in the taill
1701 Brand Orkney & Shetl. 77.
They have a sort of little horses called shelties, … some will be but 9, others 10, nives or hand-breadths high

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"Neve n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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