Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

CARFUFFLE, CURFUFFLE, Carfuchle, Curfuchel, Corfuffle, Curfuff, v. and n. [kɑr-, kər-, kʌr-, -′fʌf(l), -′fʌxl]

I. v.

1. To disarrange, throw into confusion; “to disorder” (Upper Bnff. 1916 T.S.D.C. II., s.v. carfuchle); “to tumble, to crease” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2). Often found as ppl.adj. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Fif.10, Slg.3, Gsw.2, Lnk.3 1938. Bnff. 1914 3 :
Dinna curfuchel my apron.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 11:
Tell Jenny Cock, an' she jeer onie mair Ye ken where Dick curfuffl'd a' her hair.
Fif. 1875  A. Burgess Book of Nettercaps 54:
He's a' curfuffled i' the wurr — The least Thing gars him greet.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 84:
My brain hath been sae tufflt, An' my puir musie sae corfufflt, Wi' prose an' verse, ode, tale, an' sang.

2. To work in a trifling or ineffectual manner, to fiddle (Ags.17 1938). Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
He's aye curfufflin' on something.

II. n.

1. Disorder, mess; rumpling, creasing. Also fig. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.10, Arg.1 (rare), Kcb.1 1938. Cf. Curfuggle. Mry. 1928 5 :
The worset wis a' in a carfuffle.
Lth. 1813  G. Bruce Poems 65:
An' Jeanie's kirtle, aye sae neat, Gat there a sad carfuffle, An' rug, that day.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 244:
To dauner awa into the moss, far frae the carfuffle and idiotry o' a thochtless worl', . . . that is to me a happiness indeed.
Dmf. 1864  D. Bell Sel. from Writings 21:
They're constantly tumblin' owre chairs, and chasing the cat, and makin' sic a carfuffle.

2. A disagreement, quarrel (Ags.17, Fif.10, Kcb.10 1938). w.Dmf. 1925  W. A. Scott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 17:
I still hear the children in their little curfuffs pause and ask, “Whae begoud it?”
Kcb. c.1900 4 :
There's an unco curfuff ta'en place atween them.

3. A state of excitement or agitation. Known to Bnff.2 1938. Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary (1818) xxix.:
My lord maun be turned feel outright . . . and he puts himself into sic a curfuffle for ony thing ye could bring him, Edie.
Ags. 1880  J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. of Sc. Life and Char. 34:
An' Robbie was in a carfuffle aboot her.
wm.Sc. [1835–1837]  Laird of Logan (1868) 299:
Fiery-tempered bodies aye get into a carfuffle about trifles.

4. A term of contempt (Bnff.2 1938). Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 16:
A wee carfuffle o' fa bodie, Wha kept the late Laird leather-shod aye.

5. pl. “Trimmings on dresses or other garments which are considered superfluous” (m.Dmf.3 c.1920).

[Car-, an intensive pref. from Gael. car, a twist or turn. For second element, see Fuffle. D.O.S.T. gives curfuffle (1583), to disorder or ruffle.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Carfuffle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Aug 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: