Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HAFFET, n. Also haffit; haffat; halfit (Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 5); hufflit, hufud.

1. That part of the head above and in front of the ear; the temple, the cheek. Gen.Sc., now mostly liter. Also used attrib. Sc. 1760  Mem. W. Smellie (Kerr 1811) I. 57:
Sit you down, lay your haffit on your hand.
Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (1925) 17:
Weel might ye trow, to see them there, That they to shave your haffits bare. . . . Wou'd be right laith. [Also used attrib. on p. 61.]
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 22:
Onward he goes Wi' bonnet o'er his haffet sklentin laid.
Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel xxxvii.:
“Weel said, Richie, again,” said the King; “you have gotten it on baith haffits, Sir Mungo.”
Slk. 1829  Hogg Cam. Preacher's Tale (1874) 218:
Saw ye ever mortal man . . . wi' sic a fleece of hair about his haffets and sic a wild ee in his head.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 58:
The gaucy, good-humoured, rattle-tongued land-lady, with her rosy haffets and large laughing brown eyes.
Sh. 1908  Old-Lore Misc. I. vii. 270:
If du doesna had de sheeks I'se gie de a gude lunder upo da wrang side o de haffit.
Abd. 1922  Swatches o' Hamespun 61:
He brayed back's bonnet, an' dichtit's haffets wi' the heel o' 's han'.
Lnk. 1922  T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 11:
And a half-mutchkin near his haffit Stood stibbled by.

Hence used elliptically for a blow on the side of the head, a box on the ear (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., hufud; Fif. 1825 Jam., hufflit). Lth. 1825  Jam.:
I'll gie you a haffit, and I'll scum your chafts to you; i.e. give you a blow on the chops.

Deriv. haffitless, adj., of a bonnet: without a side brim leaving the temples bare. Lnk. 1868  J. Hamilton Poems (1873) 243:
A thoosan' white mutches! — what think ye o' that? Nae haffitless bannet, nae bloomer or hat, Was worn by the grannies that nicht in the ha'.

2. Gen. in pl. Locks of hair growing on the temples (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Dmf. 1956). Also used attrib. in comb. haffet-lock. Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
Her Haffet-Locks hang waving on her Cheek.
Abd. 1739  Caled. Mag. (1788) 505:
And thro' their haffats trail'd Their nails that day.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Cotter's Sat. Night xii.:
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside, His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare.
Lnk. 1808  W. Watson Poems 67:
Yer haffets may be thick enough E'er yon ane help to fa' them.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xlix.:
The enchanted princess in the bairns' fairy tale, that kamed gold nobles out o' the tae side of her haffit locks and Dutch dollars out o' the 'tother.
s.Sc. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems 266:
But happy gae lucky, we'll trodge on our way, Till the arm waxes weak, and the haffet grows grey.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxxiii.:
His head was bare, and his haffits blowing in the wind.
ne.Sc. 1928  J. Wilson Hamespun 66:
But here's a carl wi' haffets grey, Wha o' his wark maks nae display.

3. In joinery: an upright piece of wood forming the side of a tier of shelves, a cupboard, a box-bed, steps, etc. (Sc. 1952 Builder (20 June) 942), of a high-backed easy chair (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); the upright end of a church pew (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); the vertical side of a dormer window (Fif.17 1956). Gen.Sc. Also used attrib. Abd. 1797  Aberdeen Mag. 350:
Fu' snugly set, our dozen'd taes to beek, Our master leanin' on the haffet cheek.
Cld. 1856  Specification per wm.Sc.1:
The Kitchen beds to be all fitted up with wooden haffets, lintels and stocks at least ten inches broad, 7/8 inches thick.
Arg. 1898  N. Munro John Splendid xxxi.:
The love that set Provost Brown with his chair haffit close against his wife's, so that less noticeably he might take her hand in his below the table.
Ayr. 1943  E.I.S. Report Educ. Reconstruction 76:
A cupboard broken in height into at least two depths of haffit is to be preferred to a cupboard of uniform haffit depth throughout.
Sc. 1956  Scotsman (23 March) 12:
The haffits flanking the minister's seat have carvings to represent the Good Shepherd and the Fisherman Disciple.

4. Phrs.: (1) to kaim down somebody's haffits, see Kaim; (2) to take one's hand from another's haffet, to slap, to box someone's ears. (2) Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 396:
I'll take my Hand from your Haffet.

[O.Sc. halfheid, c.1470–1604, halffet, -it, etc., 1513–1613, haffet, from 1575, temple, cheek, O.E. healfhēafod, id., lit. “half-head.”]

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"Haffet n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2019 <>



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