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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).

CLOFF, CLOFT, n. [klɔf(t)]

1. “The cleft of a tree, or that part of it where the branches separate from each other” (Lth. 1808 Jam., cloff); “a V-shaped parting of the limbs of a tree” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., cloft). Cf. Claff, n.1 (1).s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 47:
And the nimble limb the clofts could climb, To learn what sight affords, If the eggs long pressed in the raven's nest Had yet grown into birds.

2. “A cleft between adjacent hills” (Lth. 1808 Jam.); given in Watson Rxb. W.-B. (1923) as obs.

[O.Sc. has clof(f), the cleft of the body (D.O.S.T.); O.N. klof, id., klofi, cleft, rift (in a hill), a cleft stick (Zoëga); O.Dan. klov, a rift in a tree (Flom). Of the same origin as Eng. cleave, from the ablaut grade clof-en. The cloft form has doubtless arisen in the same way as O.Sc. and Mid.Eng. clift, a confusion of cleft and cliff. Dan. also has a form kløft, and Sw. dial. has kloft (Torp s.v. kluft).]

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"Cloff n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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