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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

OFF, prep., adv., adj., v. Also †of (Sc. 1746 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 209). For mod.Sc. form see also Aff.

I. prep. 1. Used where Eng. has a different prep.: (1) Away from (ne.Sc., wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1964).Sc. 1811 Edb. Annual Reg. lxxiii.:
Pray come off the door (out of the draught of).
Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 16:
Sit off the door . . . not far off Benachie.

(2) Opening out from. Appar. of Sc. orig., now also St. Eng.Edb. 1718 South Leith Rec. (Robertson 1929) II. 34:
An piece of ground . . . to be an entry to the said John his back door off the foregate in all time coming.
Sc. 1845 J. W. Carlyle Letters (1883) I. 312:
Mary's little room (off my uncle's).

2. Phrs.: (1) off book, of a preacher: without using notes or reading from a manuscript, extempore; (2) off hand, off one's hands, achieved, cleared off, out of the way; (3) off luif, -loof, adv., straight off, without premeditation, just as it comes, with no more ado (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); adj., improvised. See also Aff Loof, Luif; (4) off the first end, in the first place, first of all (Sh. 1964); (5) off the foot, see Fit, n.1, II. 2.; (6) to be never off the turn, of a door: to be constantly opening and shutting (Ags. 1964).(1) Sc. 1892 N. Dickson Auld Sc. Minister 116:
He preached off book to shun offence.
(2) Sc. 1827 Scott Journal (1910) 495:
Despatched a hugeous parcel to Will Scott at Selkirk. It is always something off hand.
(3) Fif. 1811 C. Gray Poems 62:
“Off loof” ye'se get a scrift.
(4) Sc. 1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 58:
Off the first end, right chearfully, Content them a' with Honesty.
(6) Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups of Durley xiii.:
I canna get daein' a han's turn for them; the door's never off the turn wi' them.

II. adv. In comb. with a prep.: 1. off from, off, clear of, away from. Obsol. in Eng.: 2. off o(f) Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf.; off o Rxb. 2000s; -off, offov, offof, id. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor);  aff o Ork., Bnff., Abd.; . See aff o' s.v. Aff, 4. (2); 3. off on, offan, id. See Affin.1. Mry. 1700 Boharm Parish Mag. (Nov 1896):
A woman in the parioch of Dipple, named Helen Clerk, violently took a coat off from her on the Sabbath day.
Sc. 1871 Carlyle in J. W. Carlyle Letters (1883) III. 200:
She wished to be off from the July bargain.
2. Sc. 1699 Hist. Papers Jacobite Period (S.C.) 6:
These tenents who are just going off of the ground.
Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 64–5:
John Hutchine did . . . drive away the said Walters nolt and horse off of his own grass . . . He would have hounded them off of the haill ground.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Elder Stookie 79:
"I'm up before a Panel next week. They review the case. Decide whether to go on wi' the Order, or whether I can come off of it, or maybe whether they send me to a detention centre."
Gsw. 1987 James Kelman Greyhound for Breakfast (1988) 3:
I'm skint, he said, I'm out the game. No point looking for dough off of me.
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 2:
I needed to boil the kettle to get the mess offof my face, what with the greeting and that.
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 5:
And funny though if those last didnie come ashore how come Michelle McLaughlin still managed to get pregnant offof it!
3. Sc. 1930 Life and Work (Feb.) 63:
Lottie says A maun stop letting ye borrow offan me.

III. adj. Of a farm: cultivated by a farmer in addition to a large farm elsewhere on which he regularly lives, a led farm (see Lead, v., 4).Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 117:
The smaller farms, which cannot be thus thrown together, owing to separation of property, are fast falling into the hands of spirited farmers, as separate or off farms.

IV. v. With wi(th): = to take off (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Colloq. or dial. in Eng.Per. 1897 C. M. Stuart Sandy Scott 82:
Gin there be a bit shower she offs wi' her bonnet, and puts it aneath her shawl.

Off prep., adv., adj., v.

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"Off prep., adv., adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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