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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BAFF, BAUF, n.2 and v.2 [bɑf Sc.]

1. n.

(1) A blow, buffet; a shot; a thud; a jog with the elbow; a blow with anything flat or soft — e.g. the palm of the hand, a soft ball, etc. Also fig. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1931 D. H. Fleming in Scotsman (30 May):
Man, I've sat so long in the letteran, the best o' their sermons play baff aff my head, like a blether fu' o' wind!
Bnff.(D) 1924 “Knoweheid” in Swatches o' Hamespun 83:
Bit I knidged him doon, an' gid 'im a baff.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 74:
And draws the trigger sic a baff The marrot heard it twal mile aff.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 173:
To shelter them frae buff and baff.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc., and Poems 318:
Wi' ten horse power an' hearty baff.

(2) A big, clumsy person.Gall. a.1868 Curriehill:
I wonner, man, that a great baff o' a fallow like you canna gie your preachings aff loof like ither honest fowk.

(3) A stroke in golf, in which the ground is struck with the sole of the club-head (Jam.6). See Baffie, n., infra. Abd.9 1933:
A stroke in golf that hits the ground behind the ball is called a baff.

(4) (See quots.)Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.:
Baff, exposure to cold, the effects of exposure to cold.
Sh. 1898 K. I. in E.D.D.:
Baff. A dose of cold after exposure to bad weather.

2. v.

(1) To beat, to strike.Dmf. 1879 Jam.5:
To Bauf. To walk so as to knock one's shoes against the stones, making a noise; particularly when wearing clogs or wooden shoes; as, “He gangs bauf-baufin' wi' his clogs, ye may hear him a mile aff.” This seems merely a provincial variety of Baff, beff, to beat, to strike.

(2) “To strike the ground with the sole of the club-head in playing [golf]” (Jam.6).Abd.9 1933:
I baffed that een.

Hence baffing-spoon, = Baffie, n. (see quots.). Sc. 1858 Chambers's Jnl. (4 Sept.) 157:
The play-club . . . putter, and baffing-spoon.
Sc. 1891 J. G. McPherson Golf & Golfers 3:
Before Allan's day the baffing-spoon was the weapon of approach to the hole, if a bunker intervened.

(3) “To struggle, either against illness or weather” (E.D.D.).Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.:
Baff, to struggle, to buffet a storm.
Sh. 1898 K. I. in E.D.D.:
Baff. Used when speaking of struggling with any illness but chiefly when speaking of animals, suffering uneasily.

[O.Sc. baff, n., a blow, esp. with something soft, and baffing, vbl.n., beating, dashing (D.O.S.T.). Cf. O.Fr. baffe, Mod.Fr. soufflet, a blow with anything soft — e.g. the palm of the hand — and Flem. baf or baffe, a blow, a slap in the face. Prob. imitative. See Beff, n.1, and Beff, v.]

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"Baff n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Mar 2024 <>



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