Lief vs Nief - What's the difference?

lief | nief |

As nouns the difference between lief and nief

is that lief is body while nief is a serf or bondsman born into servitude or nief can be (chiefly|scotland|ireland|northern england) a fist.




  • (archaic) beloved, dear, agreeable
  • (archaic) willing
  • Derived terms



  • (archaic, except UK dialectal) Readily, willingly.
  • * 1869 , RD Blackmoore, Lorna Doone , II:
  • these great masters of the art, who would far liefer see us little ones practice it, than themselves engage [...].
    I'd as lief have one as t'other.

    Derived terms



    * (l) * (l), (l) ----



    Etymology 1

    From (etyl), from (etyl) .


    (en noun)
  • A serf or bondsman born into servitude.
  • * 1886 , "The Fight at the Pass of Coleshill", The Red Dragon "Notes and Queries", page 471
  • That is, because the girl was his nief , or bondwoman, the daughter of one of his villains
    Alternative forms
    * neif

    Etymology 2

    From Old Norse hnefi'', ''nefi , of unknown origin.


  • (chiefly, Scotland, Ireland, Northern England) A fist.
  • *1934 , (Lewis Grassic Gibbon), Grey Granite'', Polygon 2006 (''A Scots Quair ), p. 597:
  • *:Ake thought if ever he was walking alone on a dark-like night and Jimmy came on him, he with his bare nieves and Jimmy with a knife, he'd stand as much chance of getting home safe as a celluloid cat that had strayed into hell….
  • * 1989 , (Anthony Burgess), The Devil's Mode :
  • Nestorius exploded at that and hit out. He roared and dismissed the class, hitting out with his old mottled gnarled niefs .
  • * 2004 , Jeff Silverman, The Greatest Boxing Stories Ever Told , p. 160:
  • "But t' Maister can stop and hit rarely. Happen he'll mak' him joomp when he gets his nief upon him."
    Alternative forms
    * neif * nieve


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