Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GLAFF, n., v. Also ¶glauve.

I. n. 1. A glimpse, gleam, a moment. Sc. 1834  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1856) IV. 158:
I flang . . . them . . . ower the precipice . . . Dreadfu' was the yellin, for ae glaff and ae glint; far doun it deadened.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 36:
But an' ben, an' oot an' in, He flits just like a sun-glaff.

2. A sudden blast of cold or hot air, “as, ‘a glaff o' wind,' a puff, a slight and sudden blast” (Upp. Cld., Lth., Borders 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1927; ‡Cai.7 1954). Also fig. Mry. 1828  “J. Ruddiman” Tales 68:
The cauld glaff of that ondinging has not left my inward parts to this blessed hour.
Lnk. 1881  Mod. Sc. Poets III. 138:
She socht but a glaff o' the ingle sae cheerie, To help her to combat the snell wind an' sleet.
Fif. 1884  “S. Tytler” St Mungo II. xxiv.:
Miss Janet would say abruptly there was “a het glaff off the plain-stanes.”
Edb. 1915  T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 65:
Here an' there, a' took their pairts, Glaff o' Heaven had flamed their hairts.

3. A fright, a shock (Dmf. 1950 per Fif.17), as from cold water; a surprise (Fif.17 1954). Mry. 1925 1 :
Some of them dooked in the dam, but did not enjoy it at all, not having enough to put off the caul glaff.
Dmf. 1925  Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 27:
What a glaff ye gied me.

Phr.: to tak one's glauve, “to go neck deep in the water bathing” (Bnff. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.).

II. v. To blow gently, to be wafted. Lnk. 1865  J. Hamilton Poems & Sk. 51:
And hinny breath o' heather bells Comes glaffin on the breeze.

[Prob. onomat.: cf. Gliff, Gloff, Gluff, with similar meanings.]

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"Glaff n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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