Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A woman born in the state of villeinage; a female serf.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A woman born in the state of villeinage; a female serf.
  • n. The fist.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. See neaf.

Etymologies

Old French (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • When a person claimed to be the lord of a villein who had run away and remained outside the manor unto which he was regardant, he sued out a writ of neif, that is, de nativo habendo.

    The Journal of Negro History, Volume 5, 1920

  • The old neif, after thus enjoining silence, made a gesture for the youth to follow, and shuffled noiselessly before him.

    The Truce of God A Tale of the Eleventh Century

  • "Fly! fly! my lady!" cried the terrified neif, setting the example.

    The Truce of God A Tale of the Eleventh Century

  • "You are skilled in such matters, Linda," she said, producing the knife, before the faithful neif had finished her salutation; "is there poison on this blade?"

    The Truce of God A Tale of the Eleventh Century

  • _partus sequitur ventrem_, was set aside in favour of liberty; the child of a neif was free if the father were a freeman, or if it were illegitimate, in which case it was settled that the free condition of the father should always be presumed.

    Sir Thomas More, or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society

  • For he tells us, that on its first represent-* ation at Black Friars, certain cri - tics cavilled at the character of Clearchus in it 5 objecting that it was monstrous, and impossible for a person of only seventeen years old, as that character is supposed to be, to. conceive and utter such senti* ments as he is made to speak, and which would better suit the - lips of one of thirty years of age; to which objection th6 learned and ingenious Lord Falkland made this very judicious reply, in vindication of the author, viz. thatit was neif

    Biographia dramatica, or, A companion to the playhouse:

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