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niffer, v.

Brit. /ˈnɪfə/
U.S. /ˈnɪfər/
Scottish /ˈnɪfər/
Irish English /ˈnɪfər/
Forms:  Scottish pre-17 nefare, pre-17 neifar, pre-17 neiffir, pre-17 newfar, pre-17 niffeir, pre-17 nwfer, pre-17 nyffer, pre-17 17 neiffer, pre-17 17– niffer, 18– neefer
Brit. /ˈniːfə/
U.S. /ˈnifər/
Scottish /ˈnifər/
, 18– neeffer, 18– neefor, 18– neifer, 18– neiffar, 18– neiver; English regional (northern) and Irish English (northern) 19– niffer. (Show Less)
Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by conversion. Etymon: niffer n.
Scottish, Irish English (northern), and English regional (northern).

 a. transitive. To trade or exchange (a thing) for (also †with) another thing. Also: to make the subject of an exchange (with a fellow trader).

1540   Linlithgow Burgh Court 27 Oct.   Anent ane hors that the said Villiam newfarit with the said Watt.
1564   Linlithgow Sheriff Court 20 Jan. in Dict. Older Sc. Tongue at Nefare   Ane brovne meir..quhilk thai neiffirrit with Brwme & gat ane liart naig & iiij li. x s. of bute.
a1568   Burgh Court Rec. in A. Maxwell Old Dundee (1891) 201   James Page upheld his mare faultless which he neifarit with John's horse.
1637   S. Rutherford Let. 7 Sept. in Joshua Redivivus (1664) 165   A market where we might barter or niffer our lazie ease with a profitable cross.
1641   Acts Parl. Scotl. (1870) V. 447/2   He nifferit that staig with John Buchannan.
1699   in J. Anderson Black Bk. Kincardineshire (1843) 113   The panel said that one of them [sc. three cows] was his own, another he had niffered with his brother for a steer.
a1801   R. Gall Poems & Songs (1819) 123   But, haith! there's nae scenes I wad niffer wi' thae; For it fills my fond heart fu' o' glee.
1816   Scott Antiquary II. viii. 215   I carried it for mony a year, till I niffered it for this tin ane.
1861   E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. Sc. Life ii. 168   ‘Oh,’ he said with great simplicity, ‘my master niffered me for a pony.’
1932   W. D. Cocker Poems 39   He has niffer'd his sark wi' the bogle, His breeks, coat an' bunnet forby.
1961   People's Jrnl. 28 Jan.   She niffert some o' her fish for hame-made cheese an' butter fae the farmers' wives.
1983   Eng. World-wide 4 88   No lang efterhim the yung son niffert the haill o his portion for siller.

1540—1983(Hide quotations)


b. intransitive. To make an exchange, to barter. Obsolete.

a1598   D. Fergusson Sc. Prov. (1641) sig. C3v   Of weillie persons... He neiffers [ MS ?c1625 niffers] for the better.
1754   Session Papers in Sc. National Dict. (1965) VI. (at cited word)   He intended that Day to have niffered with the Defender.
1828   D. M. Moir Life Mansie Wauch xxi. 318   There being but small difference in the value of the cloths..I caused them to niffer.
1862   A. Hislop Prov. Scotl. 85   He's fond o' barter that niffers wi' auld Nick.

a1598—1862(Hide quotations)


c. intransitive. To admit of being exchanged. Obsolete. rare.

1612   in A. I. Ritchie Churches St. Baldred (1880) 108   Efter that ye said cow wald not niffer.

1612—1612(Hide quotations)


 2. transitive. To make a mutual exchange of.

1721   A. Ramsay Poems I. 114   Stand yont proud Czar, I wadna niffer Fame With thee, for a' thy Furrs and paughty Name.
1728   A. Ramsay Wks. (1944–73) II. 204   Meeting kind to niffer Kisses, Bargaining for better Blesses.
a1800   Young Hyn Horn x, in F. J. Child Eng. & Sc. Pop. Ballads (1882) I. i. 203/2   You must niffer clothes with me.
1863   J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 74   Cuffs an' kicks they freely niffer't.
1980   Eng. World-wide 1 i. 124   Some o them..had nae time at aa for onie language binna what they could niffer wi their cronies in the pub.

1721—1980(Hide quotations)


 3. intransitive. To bargain, haggle; (occasionally) gen. to conduct business.

1815   Scott Guy Mannering II. iv. 37   Weel, so we sat niffering about some brandy that I said I wanted, till he came in.
1868   J. C. Atkinson Gloss. Cleveland Dial. 354   Niffer, to haggle, to bargain in a tenacious or hard spirit.
1891   H. Johnstone Kilmallie I. 155   Meiklemyre has been drinking and niffering on the Sabbath.
1920   A. Dodds Songs 3   He'd haggle and niffer when buyin' his cattle.
1950   in Sc. National Dict. (1965) VI. 425/3   He's aye nifferin in aboot the smiddy; A dunno what he's efter.
1994   W. N. Herbert Forked Tongue 113   Eh stoappd, an' niffert wi thi nicht, paleit thi caundils o thi leerie-lichts.

1815—1994(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, September 2003).