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  • IPA(key): /nɛʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛʃ

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English nesh, nesch, nesche, from Old English hnesċe, hnysċe, hnæsċe (soft, tender, mild; weak, delicate; slack, negligent; effeminate, wanton), from Proto-West Germanic *hnaskwī, from Proto-Germanic *hnaskuz (soft, tender), from Proto-Indo-European *knēs-, *kenes- (to scratch, scrape, rub). Cognate with Scots nesch, nesh (soft, tender, yielding easily to pressure, sensitive), Dutch nesch, nes (wet, moist), Gothic 𐌷𐌽𐌰𐍃𐌵𐌿𐍃 (hnasqus, soft, tender, delicate). Compare also nask, nasky, nasty.

Alternative forms[edit]

  • nish (Newfoundland English)


nesh (comparative nesher, superlative neshest)

  1. (now UK dialectal) Soft; tender; sensitive; yielding.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter XX, in Le Morte Darthur, book XIII:
      haue ye no merueylle sayd the good man therof / for hit semeth wel god loueth yow / for men maye vnderstande a stone is hard of kynde / [] / for thou wylt not leue thy synne for no goodnes that god hath sente the / therfor thou arte more than ony stone / and neuer woldest thow be maade neysshe nor by water nor by fyre
      (please add an English translation of this quotation)
  2. (now UK dialectal) Delicate; weak; poor-spirited; susceptible to cold weather, harsh conditions etc.
  3. (now UK dialectal) Soft; friable; crumbly.
Usage notes[edit]
  • This is a fairly widespread dialect term throughout north-central England and North Wales.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English neschen, from Old English hnesċan, hnesċian (to make soft, soften; become soft, give way, waver), from Proto-West Germanic *hnaskwōn (to make soft), from Proto-Indo-European *knēs-, *kenes- (to scratch, scrape, rub). Cognate with Old High German nascōn ("to nibble at, parasitise, squander"; > German naschen (to nibble, pinch)). Doublet of nosh.


nesh (third-person singular simple present neshes, present participle neshing, simple past and past participle neshed)

  1. (transitive) To make soft, tender, or weak.
  2. (intransitive, dialectal, Northern England) To act timidly.



Alternative forms[edit]


Plural of nes.


nesh m pl (masculine singular nes, feminine singular nese, feminine plural nesi)

  1. (third-person masculine plural pronoun) they (all male or mixed group)


See also[edit]