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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.

NIZ, n., v. Also nizz (Mry. 1804 R. Couper Poetry II. 61), nize (Abd. 1900 J. Milne Poems 23), ne(e)z, neze (Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 50), niss, nis(e) (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 220), neis (Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 164), neese (Sc. 1818 Sawers), and dims. nizzie, nizz(e)y, (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 256, Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 18). [nɪz]

I. n. 1. The nose (Ags. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1964), now only in jocular use. Also in n.Eng. dial.

Hence nizzer, a head-on blizzard, adverse weather conditions, a facer s.v. Face, n. 2. (6) (Bnff., Abd. 1964). Cf. Eng. noser, id.; a lean, hard-faced person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 118); nizzet, a jocular term for the nose (Ork. 1929 Marw.); nizzin, -an, vbl.n. See II. 1.n.Sc. 1706 Sc. Antiquary XII. 104:
A little Book . . . which makes it as plain as a niss on a man's Face, that the publick burdens will be less after the Eenion than just now.
Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 81:
[He] brake the Brig o's Neese.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 172:
Red ein, wi' plooks owr niz an' mou'.
Mry. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 136:
The wabster's nise was dung ajee, The bluid ran o'er his beard.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 21:
An auncient brogh o' some renown. Near to the neis o' Fife.
Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 32:
His niz Sud never curl aboot a lick O' sanctly fude.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 10:
A'm Scotch an' prood o't, an' gin yer ginteel freens at the manse cock up their niz, they can dee't on-fasht my sleep ony.

Combs. and Phrs.: †(1) neese-pike, an instrument for picking the nose to encourage sneezing; ¶(2) nez a nez, face to face; (3) nizbit, nis-, a metal nose-band for a horse (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 118); (4) nizwise, n(e)is-, nise-, having or claiming a strong sense of smell; fig. far-seeing, quick in perception (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Abd., Kcd. 1933). Used ironically in 1790 quot. Also in phr. to mak neis-wise, to enlighten, used with a neg. (Jam.); (5) to snite one's nise. See Snite.(1) Slk. 1829 Hogg Sound Morality (1874) 201:
Nicol Shaw, an old Highlander, who sat with a snuff-horn in his hand, and which horn had a snuff-spoon, a hare's foot, and a neese-pike appended.
(2) wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan I. 224:
The . . . Laird . . . found himself nez a nez to the horrible apparition.
(4) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 138:
Ye're a' nis-wise; but, ere ye sleep, this night, Ye'll maybe see wha's far'est in the right.
Bch. 1832 W. Scott Poems 86:
Ye'll ken, I'll warren, ilka fat an' fu', I'm nae so niz-wise by the hauf as you.

2. The crown of a tooth.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 105:
At last she gae a desperate squeez, Which brak the lang tooth by the neez.

II. v. 1. In vbl.n. nizzin, -an, a buffeting by the weather (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 118); fig. a sharp reproof, a dressing-down (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.).Bch. c.1859 Gateway (1918) No. 69. 11:
I'll get a gey nizzin' or I win ower the hill tae the Howe o' Tollo.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxiii.:
We'se gi'e Gushets an's non-intrusionists as snell a nizzen as they've gotten yet.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Thoo'll get a nizzin the night when thoo comes heem.

[O.Sc. nese, nose, a.1400, Mid.Eng. nese, neose, Mid.Du. nese, Dan. nœse. For nisbit, cf. O.Sc. nosebit, 1583, and for niz-wise, O.Sc. neisewise, having a keen sense of smell, 1628, Dan. nœsvis, impertinent, cheeky, E.M.E. nose wise, conceited, opinionated.]

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"Niz n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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