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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 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 Apr 2023 <>



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