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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DEAFFY, Deefy, Deafy, Daiffy, Diffy, Deefie, Deafie adjv, n. [′difi, ′defɪ̢, ′dɪfɪ̢]

I. adj

1. Dull (of sound) (Fif.10, Lnk.3 1940, daiffy). Alternative form diffy is known in Lnk. and Lth. (Lnk.3). Deaf in this sense has been obs. in Eng. since early 18th cent.Fif.3 1916:
A voice gives forth a daiffy sound.

2. Dull in action, without bounce (of a clay marble or a ball). Also used substantivally for the marble or ball itself (Arg.1 (deaffy, deefy), Lnk.3 1940; Slk. 1947 (per Abd.27), diffy).Fif.10 1939:
A “bool” that “wudna stot” was described as a “daiffy bool,” or simply “a daiffy” — That ane's a daiffy. [Also form deafy.]

3. Numb, partially or totally devoid of sensation, e.g. in the case of a paralysed limb (Fif.10 1939). Also in Lei. dial. in form deaf.

II. v. To ignore (a person) (Ags. 2000s).Gsw. 1980s:
They deefied me.

III. n. The act of ignoring a person (Ags., Gsw. 2000s).Sc. 1999 Scotsman 20 Oct 19:
Hou lang dae we Scots speakers hae tae dree a Scotland Office an Scottish executive that sees tae the wants of juist ane o Scotland's twa hamelt leids and keeps on turnin a deefie tae the ither?
Sc. 2003 Herald 11 Jan 17:
From a young age, they learn to "sling a deafie" as a way of cutting out parental instructions. They have a remarkable ability to develop this type of selective perception. When they reach adolescence, they have raised poor communication skills to an art form. There is hardly a parent anywhere who hasn't bemoaned the fact that their teenager is impossible to talk to.
Sc. 2004 Sun 23 Apr :
Schottland's food is under attack from the Germans.
Three separate guidebooks released in Deutschland this week warn visiting lederhosen-clad tourists to sling a deafie at our staple nosh.
Gsw. 1988 Michael Munro The Patter Another Blast 18:
deefie ... To throw or sling someone a deefie is to deliberately ignore him, pretend that you didn't hear what he said: 'Aye, ye slung us a deefie the other night but Ah seen who was wi ye.'
Gsw. 1995 Herald 22 Dec 17:
I can do a deefy to those who turn up once a year simply to tell me that there is another wean on the way and they don't bother reading John Macleod.

 [From Deaf.]

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"Deaffy adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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