Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NEEP, n.1, v. Also n(e)ip, neap (Sc. 1880 Jam.). [nip]

I. n. 1. A turnip. Gen.Sc. Only dial. in Eng. since 16th c. Also attrib. Adj. neepie, -y, associated with, having the taste of, made from, a turnip. See also Combs. (13) and (26). Fif. 1709 D. Beveridge Culross (1885) II. 67:
Being asked what she was doing amongst the kaill, answered she was pulling up a neep.
Sc. 1729 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 161:
Todlen hame, todlen hame, As round as a neep come todlen hame.
Sc. 1776 E. Topham Letters from Edb. 229:
I have often observed, at the houses of principal people, a plate of small turnips, which they call “Neeps”, introduced in the desert.
Sc. 1800 Mrs. Frazer Cookery 60:
Put in the beef carrot and nips.
Sc. 1819 Hogg Jacob. Relics I. 97:
He maun hame but stocking or shoe, To nump his neeps, his sybows, and leeks.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 135:
His fingers dinglin' wi' the caul', At washin' neeps for cattle i' the staul.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 186:
The takin' up an' pittin' o' my puckle neeps.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 234:
He bigged a hut, he made a boat, An' planted neeps a' kael.
Abd. 1900 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (Oct.):
He had gotten three pairtricks in that neep field.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 32:
His cabbage an' his neips were a' reel-ral.
Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chron. (17 Aug.) 2:
The moisture is suiting the “neep” family, and already very large bulbs are showing.
Abd. 1960 Buchan Observer (15 Nov.) 6:
Japanese Radish — large red and green bulbs of the turnip order. They did better although not quite of the same food value as the “neep”.

Combs.: (1) neep-bree, -breu (I.Sc.), the liquid in which turnips have been boiled (ne.Sc. 1963). See Bree, n.1, Broo, n.1; (2) neep-brose, Brose made with boiling neep-bree instead of water or milk (ne.Sc. Ags., Uls. 1963); (3) neep-cleek, an iron blade about 18 inches long with a hook at the end for pulling turnips out of the ground (ne. and em.Sc. (a), Lth., Kcb. 1963). See Cleek, n.1; (4) neep corn, oats coming in rotation after turnips; (5) neep-cutter, a turnip-slicer (Ork., em.Sc. (a), wm.Sc. 1963); (6) neep-dreel, a turnip drill. Gen.Sc. See Dreel; (7) neep-green, raw, inexperienced, callow; (8) neep-grun(d), ground prepared for a crop of turnips (I. and ne.Sc. 1963). See Grund; (9) neep-hack, (i) a two-pronged iron implement, about 3 feet long, used esp. for pulling turnips out of frozen ground (Kcd., Ags. 1825 Jam.; wm.Sc. 1963). See Hack, n.1; (ii) a rack for feeding cattle turnips in the fields during winter (Cld. 1880 Jam.), a mistake for heck. See Heck, n.1; (10) neep-hasher, = (5). See Hasher, n., 1. (ne.Sc. 1963); (11) neep-heid, a “turnip-head”, a stupid person (I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Edb. 1963). Hence neep-headed, stupid; (12) neep land, ground from which a crop of turnips has been taken (I.Sc. 1963). Cf. (8); (13) neep(ie)-lantern, a turnip-lantern, esp. one carried by children at Halloween (I., ne and em.Sc.(a) 1963); (14) neip-like, like a turnip; fig. dull, stupid; (15) neep-machine, a horse-drawn machine for sowing turnips in two drills at once (ne.Sc., Per. 1963); (16) neep-muck, manure for putting on turnip ground (Sh., ne.Sc. 1963). See Muck; (17) neep pluck, = (9) (i) (ne.Sc. 1963). See Pluck; (18) neep-pu'er, a horse or tractor-drawn implement for pulling turnips, with blades which run under the drill and slice off the roots (ne.Sc. 1963). See Pou; (19) neep re(e)t, land from which a turnip crop has been taken, and still so called under the subsequent corn-crop (Abd. 1918 W. A. Mutch Hev ye a Spunk 15, 1949 Huntly Express (22 July); ne.Sc. 1963). See Ruit; (20) neep rinnin' turnip-hoeing. See Rin; (21) neep-saaer, an implement for sowing turnips. Gen.Sc. See Saw, v.′; (22) neep-seed, (i) turnip-seed. Gen.Sc.; (ii) the time for sowing turnips (Abd. 1897 11 Years at Farm Work 3; ne.Sc. 1963); (23) neep shaw, a turnip-top. Gen.Sc. Hence neepshawin, the removal of these with (3) (Ork., ne.Sc., Per. 1963). See Shaw; (24) neep-shawin, turnip-sowing (ne.Sc. 1963). See Saw, v.′; (25) neep sinerin', = (20). See Sinder; (26) neepy candle, = (13) (Abd. 1956 Ev. Express (1 Nov.); ne.Sc. 1963); (27) nip turner, a utensil for peeling the rind off a turnip. (2) Mry. 1887 A. G. Wilken Peter Laing 50:
A great notion for neep brose.
Sc. 1889 Jokes (Ser. 1) 11:
For the evening meal during the winter months neep-brose holds an important place.
Abd. 1958 People's Jnl. (6 Dec.) 12:
Dyce folk are looking forward to Friday, December 19 — the night of their “neep brose” ball. . . . Neep brose will be served up in cardboard cartons to dancers.
Ags. 1959 C. Gibson Folk-Lore Tayside 33:
Almost on a par with kale-brose were neep-brose, beef-brose — and just plain brose.
(4) Abd. 1928 Weekly Jnl. (27 Sept.) 6:
Yer ley corn sid be a rale gweed crap, an' ye're neen waur wi' yer neep corn nor the rest o's.
(5) Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends ix.:
A finger that was chacked clean aff wi' a neep-cutter.
(6) Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 20:
I h'ard tell Burnies hid gien ye yer comeagain for yon neep-dreels ye set up.
(7) ne.Sc. 1950 Northern Scot (23 Dec.):
He did nae that bad for a neep-green laddie.
(8) Sh. 1900 Shetland News (2 June):
Can doo come an' help wiz wi' wir neep grund a Moninday?
(11) Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie viii.:
The neep-headed fules, wi' their auld fusted schules.
Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keitk 142:
Not that a large Neep-Head contains much brains.
(12) Abd. 1861 Hatton Estate MSS.:
I was at Newmill yesterday and got the Dung and new grass Valued and plowing of neep land is setteled.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 9:
Mither's washan and Ded's i' the neep lan'.
(13) Sc. 1871 C. Gibbon For Lack of Gold I. xviii.:
The laddies paraded the village with “neep-lanterns” — turnips hollowed out, grotesque figures cut on the sides and a bit of candle stuck inside.
Abd. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 15:
The Eel ball, heeld in some muckle barn or corn laft, lichtit wi' bouats, lamps, an' neep lantrins.
Fif. 1937 St Andrews Cit. (1 May) 3:
They then got a turnip, hollowed it out in the usual manner when making a “neep lantern”, and gave the turnip the form of a skull.
(14) Sc. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxiii.:
Bonny, whose neip-like face at that moment was contorted.
(15) Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 3:
An' harrows, barrows, cairts, an' pleughs, An' neep machines an' sleds.
Abd. 1923 J. Hunter MS. Diary (15 May):
Took 2 Rollars from G. Simpson to smidy for neep machine.
(16) Abd. 1906 Banffshire Jnl. (12 June) 2:
I see ye raxin' wi' the pluck An' haulin' oot the strong neep muck.
(19) Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 221:
He found him as third horseman at the plough in a field of “neep-reet”.
ne.Sc. 1957 Press & Jnl. (4 Oct.):
Long after the introduction of the horse rake by some “particular” big farmers on the “neepret,” the horse rake being thought unsuitable for the young grass of that field.
(20) Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (8 Aug.):
The hand hoes got to work singling the plants. The “neep rinnin',” as it is called, answers best while the soil is moderately dry.
(21) Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 209:
Geordo cam' by on his wey tae borrow a neep-saaer.
(22) (i) Abd. 1863 G. Macdonald D. Elginbrod ii. iv.:
We ken no more . . . than that neep-seed there kens what a neep is.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (10 June):
Na, bit aboot neep seed?
(ii) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
Ye maun gie's an ouk at the Walls aifter the neep seed.
Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. 224:
This, in the district vernacular, was called “neep seed-time”.
Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 66:
The neepseed deen, me an' my chums an' pals Wid shim a bit, or dander to the walls.
(24) Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (10 April) 3:
Later on, while preparing the ground for “neep shawin',” a brief snappy snowfall surprised us.
(25) Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (26 June):
“Neep-sinerin',” as the farm people of a former generation used to call the singling, or first hoeing of turnips.
(27) Sc. 1800 Mrs Frazer Cookery 60:
Put into the sauce some turnips turned out with a nip turner.

2. Pl.: (1) A dish of cooked and mashed turnips (Abd. 1963). Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 16:
I tuik a suppie o' yon caul neeps, redder nor th' pottage wi' raa sowens.

(2) the time of the year when turniphoeing is in progress (Sh., Abd., Ags. 1963). Per. 1895 I. Maclaren Brier Bush 289:
Ye micht wile him aff tae the saut water atween the neeps and the hairst.

3. A parsnip. Also in Ir. dial. Sc. 1800 Mrs Frazer Cookery 121:
To stew Parsnips . . . when the cream is warm, put in the nips.

4. Fig. (1) jocularly: the head (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lnl. 1963), esp. a stupid one. Fif. 1862 St Andrews Gazette (8 Aug.):
A wheen doutit chiels, wi' mair siller at their command than brains, get a tutor to hammer lair intil their neeps.

(2) a large old-fashioned watch, a watch in a case (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 117; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1963). Dim. neepie. Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 210:
“It maun be shortly sin if he dis,” said Wullie Cuddy, consulting his “neep”.
Ags. 1912 A. Reid Forfar Worthies 12:
But aince I clean't, as I wis sayin', It'll help to keep the neepie ga'en.
Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert 18:
That great neep o' a watch o' yours wunna keep time.

(3) a rustic, a yokel, a farm-worker (Kcd. 1963).

(4) anything ugly or misshapen (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 117); a person of a disagreeable temper (Ib.).

II. v. 1. To feed (cattle) with turnips (Abd. 1906 J. Christie Drachlaw Revisited 48; I., n. and em.Sc. 1963). Vbl.n. neepin, neepan, the act of doing this (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 117), in combs. neepinbarra, a barrow used to carry the turnips in a byre (ne.Sc. 1963); neepin-time, the time for giving the cattle turnips (ne.Sc. 1963). Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 117:
See it ye neep the caur richt.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 147:
Neist day, the fairmer an' the loon wur neepin' the nowte.
ne.Sc. 1953 Mearns Leader (25 Dec.):
He . . . kwid hardly tak' time tae neep the coo an' the blue stottie.

2. To sow (land) with turnips (Abd., Bnff., Lth. 1963). Abd. 1959 Huntly Express (27 March) 7:
It's jist eleven 'ear syne. The neeps wis at the back o' the hoose an' it's been neepit ae 'ear since that.

[O.Sc. neip, turnip, from c.1470, O.E. n, ad. Lat. napus, id.]

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"Neep n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2021 <>



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