Definition of nievie-nievie-nick-nack in English:



Irish English, English Regional, Scottish, Northern
  • A children's game, in which one player has to guess the hand in which the other player has concealed a small object, such as a pin or a coin.


Late 16th century; earliest use found in Alexander Montgomerie (c1550–1598), poet and courtier. Earliest (in some forms) from nieve + -y (with reduplication) + an element of uncertain origin, perhaps arbitrary, or perhaps a variant of knack, since the traditional rhyme in which the word is used ends with the words ‘I'll beguile ye if I can’. The γ and some forms show reduplication (and usually vowel variation) in the final element; compare knick-knack.