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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

COOF, CUIF, Couff, Cufe, Kuf, n.1 [kuf Sc., m.Sc. and s.Sc. + kyf and kɪf (late), Ags. + køf; kyf Sh.]

1. A fool, simpleton, dull-witted fellow (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., küf). Gen.Sc. Also dim. cuiffie. Sc. 1724–27 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1733) I. 27:
Let coofs their cash be clinking.
Sc. 2002 Scotland on Sunday 15 Sep 18:
When Robert Burns wrote 'A Man's A Man For A' That', he could have had Mike Watson in mind as the "birkie ca'd a lord." Lord Watson of Invergowrie, our tourism, culture and sport minister, has shown himself to be a "cuif" - in Burns' lexicon, a fool or ninny - in his actions over the proposals to reform Glasgow's acute hospital services.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 27:
Sic thochts mak cuiffies o us aa,
an naitrel virr gangs blae
wi thochts wad gar ye grue.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) 143:
This is no' Barjarg, ye silly cuif.

2. A useless, incompetent fellow; a spiritless, “feckless” person (Abd.9, Ags.1, Fif.10, Arg.1 1937; Ayr. 1882 R. Drennan in C. Mackay Poetry and Humour of Sc. Lang. 53).Sc. 1874 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 246:
Compared wi' him, what are those handless and heartless coofs that carry on the gipsy trade noo?
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 14:
yet I maun rise abuin the lair o wanrufe
or slutter in't, wae-gowpin, a slottery coof.
Gsw. 1859 J. Young in Recent Sc. Poets (ed. A. G. Murdoch 1881) ii. 200:
An easy-osy thieveless coof, as soul-less as a rock — O! for a twalmonth's sodgerin' for my big Jock!

3. A lout, a rustic (Fif.1 1937); “a clownish fellow” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.).Sc. 1822 A. Cunningham Trad. Tales II. 190–191:
I never saw such soulless coofs.
m.Sc. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls o' Hame 26:
An' cock up his neb wi' the lave at the schules. . . . The tae half are coofs, if no even-doun fules.

4. A man who meddles with woman's work or affairs (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B., obs., coof, cufe).

5. A coward (Ags.1 1937).Abd.(D) 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 32:
Then aften I swore at the cloven hoof . . . An' the horns an' tail scared mony a coof.
Ags. 1816 G. Beattie John o' Arnha' (1826) 13:
For dastard coofs they dinna care.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 171:
Ah! shame on mine and on your head! Twa caitiff cowart couffs!

[O.Sc. cof(f)e, coif, a rogue, E.M.E. cofe, cove, now in slang use = chap, fellow, of unknown origin.]

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"Coof n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jun 2022 <>



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