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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1990 (DOST Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Rift, Ryf(f)t, n.1 Also: ryift. [ME and e.m.E. rift (Cursor M.), ON ript breach of contract. Cf. Dan. and Norw. rift a cleft, chink, etc.] a. A cleft or fissure in the earth, a rock, etc. b. A gap in the clouds. c. A rent, split, crack or chink in any material object. d. fig. or in fig. context.a. c1420 Wynt. iv 1202.
Sa wgsum thare that opynnyng fell That throuch a ryfft men mycht se hell
Ib. 1221.
Fra he downe fell in that gape All that ryfft togyddyre crape
1513 Doug. i iii 51.
Salt watir stremmys Fast bullerand in at euery ryft and boyr
Ib. vii ix 61.
A ryft or swelch … Till Acheron revin dovne
b. 1513 Doug. viii vii 47.
We se The schynand brokkyn thundris lychtnyng fle Wyth subtil fyry stremys throu a ryft
1587-99 Hume 27/54.
The subtile mottie rayons light, At rifts thay are in wonne
c. 1513 Doug. vi vi 63.
The saymyt barge, Sa ful of ryftys, and with lekkis perbrake
1561–2 Edinb. Old Acc. II 160.
For solding and mending of dyvers ryftis [pr. rystis] in the uther gutteris
1563–4 Ib. 196. 1590 Crail B. Ct. MS 11 April.
Ane hundereth dailis guid and sufficient … withowt ony rift
1672 Sinclair Hydrostaticks 187.
There are some [metals] that are full of rifts or empty spaces … termed by the vulgar, cutters
a1688 Wallace Orkney 54.
The largest bell … had got a rift by the fall which it got
(b) 1582 Edinb. D. Guild Acc. 148.
For beiring of clay to stoip the ryiftis & hoillis about the orlaige
d. 1587-99 Hume 171/119.
Behold at how narow a rift that awld lubrik serpent hathe slydin in
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 478.
These … narrow souls can hold little of it [sc. love] because we are full of rifts

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"Rift n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Mar 2023 <>



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