My aunt used to gasp, when shocked about something, "Nay good night!"

I didn't understand as a child, but I have a feeling now, it means (roughly) not getting a good night's sleep over the shock or concern.

Does anyone else have an insight? Or an old Aunt that used to say this?

For reference: She was born in 1920 in North Dakota. This was the first generation of her Norwegian family to be native English speakers.

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    There's a certain amount of "crossover" from Scandinavian to dialectal Scottish. Perhaps your aunt might have meant what we'd usually transcribe as Nae good night (where nae is eye-dialect for Scottish no, as in I've had no good night's sleep). Google Books has several instances of (I've) had nae sleep, for example. – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '18 at 16:54
  • My guess would be more along the lines of, "Nay" meaning, "No" - an expression of disbelief, followed by an expression of surrender and prediction "Good night!" Meaning roughly, "[If that's true], then It's all over now." – Jim Sep 19 '18 at 17:04
  • Perhaps it is/was idiomatically natural for Norwegians to emphatically shut down debate by appending Goodnight! after a "final" utterance, the way many people today might reject something with No! Period! (or When I say No I mean No - full stop!). – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '18 at 17:24
  • Lot of hits in google search - AmE newspapers ~ 1890 + - but no definitive definition. – lbf Oct 24 '18 at 2:31

It's still in regular use... "Nay" just means "no"... As in the good night part... I've heard this a lot... Just recently in the pub we were all having a good time and one of our group makes a terrible joke and another says "No, good night", stands up and pretends to walk out. It's just another way of saying... "No, that's enough"... Or "that's it! I've had enough"...

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    Thanks Lee for what could well be a useful contribution. However, we need more detail to be sure that your answer is correct. Where do you hear it said (i.e. which country, region, state, city)? When did you hear it last? How often do you hear it? Is it only said as part of a pretence at leaving, or is it used more generally? You can add more information using the edit link. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Oct 24 '18 at 1:30

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