OE    tr. Apollonius of Tyre xx. 32   ‘Lareow, ne ofþingð hit ðe gif ic þus wer geceose?’ Apollonius cwæð: ‘Na, ac ic blissige swiðor ðæt þu miht‥þe silf on gewrite gecyðan hwilcne heora þu wille.’

a1400  (1325)    Cursor Mundi (Fairf. 14) 766   ‘Wate þou quar-fore?’ ‘na [a1400 Vesp. nai; a1400 Gött. nay].’

c1480  (1400)    St. Placidus 600 in W. M. Metcalfe Legends Saints Sc. Dial. (1896) II. 86   Þane cane þai at hym hertly spere‥gyf he wist quhare he was‥he sad: ‘na’.

a1522    G. Douglas tr. Virgil Æneid (1959) vii. vi. 32   Hes nocht Troy all infyrit ȝit thame brynt? Na: all sic laboure is for nocht and tynt.

1572  (1500)    Taill of Rauf Coilȝear 79   Na, thank me not ouir airlie, for dreid that we threip.

1596    J. Dalrymple tr. J. Leslie Hist. Scotl. (1895) II. 75   Na; not sa: bot he, quhen pleises him selfe wil cum.

1613    in W. Cramond Church of Aberdour (1896) 9   After‥lawful tryell of his knowledge‥they may say yea or na to his admission.

1634    T. Heywood & R. Brome Late Lancashire Witches iii. sig. F,   Na, if the Witches have but rob’d of your meat, and restor’d your reason, here has beene no hurt done to day.

1725    A. Ramsay Gentle Shepherd i. i. 3   Na Patie, na! I’m na sic churlish Beast.

1786    R. Burns To Louse iv,   Na faith ye yet! ye’ll no be right Till ye’ve got on it.

1816    Scott Old Mortality vii, in Tales of my Landlord 1st Ser. II. 147   Na, my leddy, it’s no that.

1827    J. Wilson Noctes Ambrosianae xxxiii, in Blackwood’s Edinb. Mag. June 897   Na, sir—I canna say that I should.

1894    R. O. Heslop Northumberland Words (at cited word),   ‘Are ye gan win us?’ ‘Na.’

1958    J. Kesson White Bird Passes x. 158   ‘Ye tell her, then, Jeems! Ye ken all the answers!’ ‘Na, hardly.’

1995    I. Banks Whit xxii. 358   Is he jealous? Na; I think he’s proud, and he likes watching, anyway.


a1250  (1200)    Ancrene Riwle (Nero) (1952) 99   ‘Noa [c1230 Corpus Cambr. na],’ he seið, ‘ne mei nout makien þeos to sunegen þuruh ȝiuernesse.’

c1275  (1216)    Owl & Nightingale (Calig.) 997   Ȝut þu aisheist wi ich ne fare In to oþer londe & singe þare. No, wat sholde ich among hom do?

a1375    William of Palerne (King’s Cambr.) (1867) 2701   ‘No, madame,’ seide hire douȝter, ‘marie þat graunt.’

c1384    Bible (Wycliffite, E.V.) (Douce 369(2)) Zech. iv. 5   ‘Wher thou wost not what ben these thingus?’ And Y saide, ‘No, my lord.’

a1425  (1385)    Chaucer Troilus & Criseyde (1987) i. 761   ‘Lat be thyne olde ensaumples.’‥ ‘No,’ quod tho Pandarus.

c1450    tr. Honorius Augustodunensis Elucidarium (1909) 27   ‘Resseyuede not Judas þis sacrament as ferforth as petir?’‥ ‘No, forsoþe.’

1535    Bible (Coverdale) John i. 21   Art thou the Prophet? And he answered: No.

1591    Troublesome Raigne Iohn i. sig. B2v,   Wilt thou vpon a frantick madding vaine Goe loose thy land, and say thy selfe base borne? No, keepe thy land.

a1616    Shakespeare Two Gentlemen of Verona (1623) i. iii. 91   My heart accords thereto; And yet a thousand times it answers no.

1646    R. Crashaw Steps to Temple 90   When heaven bids come, who can say no?

1702    D. Defoe Shortest Way with Dissenters 3   Now they cry out Peace, Union, Forbearance, and Charity.‥ No Gentlemen, the Time of Mercy is past.

1718    G. Sewell Proclam. Cupid 8   The Fools say, Yes; but wiser Chaucer, No.

1766    O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield I. xiii. 126   No, cries the Dwarf‥no, I declare off.

1817    Parl. Deb. 1st Ser. 413   On the question that the bill do pass, being finally put, the cry of ‘No’, from the Opposition side, was very loudly pronounced.

1857    J. Toulmin Smith Parish 62   The whole number present at the meeting must range themselves, aye and no, on the two opposite sides of the room.

1861    G. H. Lewes Let. 20 Aug. in ‘G. Eliot’ Lett. (1954) III. 446   She allows herself to be preyed upon dreadfully by the boys—she can’t say No.

1961    Listener 21 Dec. 1065/2   He was made Minister of Labour in a season when the Government’s economic policy meant saying ‘no’ to wage demands.

1988    Lit. & Theol. 2 164   We may suppose that we read Lacan or Foucault.‥ But no! what we read is French, or French translated into usually American English.