One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verbEnglish Regional, Scottish, Northern
1with object To beat with the fists; to pound or pummel.
2with object Scottish (now chiefly Orkney and Shetland). To grip or squeeze with the fingers; to knead; (occasionally) to pluck out. Also without object. Compare "nevelling".
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Knox (c1514–1572), religious reformer. From nieve + -le.
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