Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DUFF, n.1 Also †dufe, dof, diffie. [dʌf, døf]

1. “The soft or spongy part of a loaf, turnip, new cheese, etc.” (Cld. 1825 Jam.2, dufe; Ayr.4 1928, diffie).

2. A soft spongy peat (Sh.11 1949, duff; Per. 1825 Jam.2, dufe); decomposed vegetable matter such as moss, fallen leaves, etc.; when dried used as litter for cows (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), dof; 1913–14 J. M. Hutcheson W.-L.). Also used in U.S. Cf. Dowf, I.

5. (1). Often in comb. duff-(dof) mould, id. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh.11 1949). Sc. 1844  W. H. Maxwell Sports and Adv. (1853) xvi.:
The outfield, or less productive parts, which are often mossy and seldom drained, has also long received each year a portion of earth or sea-weed dung, mixed with duff-mould.
Sc. 1878  Pop. Sc. Monthly XII. 289 (N.E.D.):
This duff (composed of rotten spruce-trees, cones, needles, etc.) has the power of holding water almost equal to a sponge.
Sh. 1822  S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 415:
The wet stratum is . . . covered with a layer of duffmould, or dry decomposed moss.
Sh. 1897  Sh. News (28 Aug.):
I crep i' da byre ta see an' I coodna shül doon fae behint da kye an' pit a air o' duff i' der bissies.

[The same word as Eng. duff, dough, coaldust, orig. a variant of dough.]

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"Duff n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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