Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GUFF, n.1, v.1 Also goff (Sc. 1868 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 18), gouf(f), gowf(f), †goaf, goof, guif, and dims. guffie (Jam.2), -y (Ayr. 1952 Sc. Daily Mail (10 Jan.)). [Sc. gʌf, Dmf. + gʌuf]

I. n. A fool, a simpleton (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry, Gl., guff, goff, 1923 Watson W.-B., ‡goff, gowf, guif, 1942 Zai, guff; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, guff; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 27, gouf, Abd.31 (guffie), em. and s.Sc. 1955); a foolish giddy girl (Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 148, gowf). Also in n.Eng. dial. and in form goof in U.S. slang. Edb. 1801  J. Thomson Poems 29:
Here lies interr'd below this truff, A miser and a silly guff.
Slk. 1818  Hogg Wool-gatherer (1874) 78:
Your wife! Weel I wat ye'll never get the like o' her, great muckle hallanshaker-like guff.
Dmf. 1822  Scots Mag. (April) 488:
I'd sooner ha'e Habbit in his sark, than Aggie Dinwoodie's gouff o' a dominie.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 40:
Though mony a Goaf and Glumf, Though mony a Haverall they hae bred.
Abd. 1832  W. Scott Poems 130:
This noted lane was ance the howff O' mony a doughty gentle gouff.
Per. a.1869  C. Spence Poems (1898) 17:
Ye tak me for a silly guff, “A gomeral gowk” ye ca'd me.
Rxb. c.1885  W. Laidlaw Poetry & Prose (1901) 48:
[He] came in Tae tell that “Tam-the-Goof” was deid.
Edb. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xv.:
He no' thocht we were sic guffies as to be taen in wi' that.
Gall. 1901  Trotter Gall. Gossip 113:
Oot o' derision they ca't him Stewart M'Gomeral, for he was a perfet gowf forbye.

Hence 1. guffie, guffish, adj., stupid, foolish (Sc. 1808 Jam., guffie; Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Gall. c.1920; Rxb. 1955); 2. guffishly, adv., foolishly (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.); 3. guffishness, n., foolishness (Ib.). 1. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 225:
Ilk clauchan's pang'd wi' goafish bards, The de'il a mailins free o' them.
Gall. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 53:
He was kind o' gowfish a wee.

II. v. “To flaunt about, to coquette” (Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 148).

[E.M.E. goffe, a fool, prob. from arch. Fr. goffe, dull-witted, lumpish, coarse, borrowed from It. goffo, awkward.]

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"Guff n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Jan 2018 <>



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