To NEESE, v.n. [nyse, Danish; niessen, Dutch.] To sneeze; to discharge flatulencies by the nose. Retained in Scotland.
~ Johnson’s Dictionary
Time proves itself a comedian. ‘Flatulence’ derives from the Latin flatum (the supine form of flare, to blow), with no specific implication of intestinal gas, even in Johnson’s day. ‘Afflatus’ rises from the same root, and the ‘divine afflatus’ may originally have been conceived as a heavenly sneeze. When Telemachus neeses from the other room after Penelope pledges faith in her husband’s return, it’s taken as a favorable sign from the gods. Also, note Johnson’s customary derision of the Scots, accusing them of holding in their flatulencies; they’re still considered generally retentive.