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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

NIMP, n. Also ny(i)m(pt), nyum- and dim. forms nimpie (Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 195), ny(i)mmie (Lth. 1880 Jam.), nimmle. A little bit, a morsel, fragment (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1903 E.D.D., nyim, Abd., Kcb., Uls. 1930; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Ayr. 1964, nimp). Also in Nhb. dial.; “short measure” (Gall. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 33, nyimpt, which suggest rather a pa.p. = scanty, scrimp). [nɪmp]Uls. 1901 Northern Whig:
A “nym” is a small quantity, often used by nurses, for a piece of bread or cake.
Dmf. 1913 J. L. Waugh Cracks wi' R. Doo v.:
Mind you, it micht be a very wee, wee corner — juist a nimp, as it were.
Bch. 1929:
Nae ae nimp o's candy did he gie aboot 'im.
wm.Sc.1 1948:
A relative of his used to say, for a small quantity: a wee nimmle.

Hence nyumlin, a fragment of meat left over from a meal and kept for future use.Arg.1 1935:
There should be nyumlins enough tae mak' a fine shepherd's pie. I'll mak' a gran' meat roll wi' thae nyumlins.

[Cf. Mid.Eng. nymp, to nibble, bite, of obscure orig., but prob. imit. of nibbling, doubtless also formally influenced by Nip.]

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"Nimp n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <>



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