Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations & symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).

SKLEFF, adj., n. Also sclaif, sclafe. [sklɛf]

I. adj. 1. Shallow, flat, of a dish (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Lth. 1970).

2. Flat, level, of ground (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); thin and flat, of things (Bwk. 1825 Jam., 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; s.Sc. 1970); of persons: not plump or rounded in figure (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.); esp. of women: flat-breasted (Slk. 1958).Bwk. 1825 Jam.:
A skleff cheese, a skleff piece of wood.
Sc. 1892 Burnsiana (Ross) I. 20:
A thin-flanked, sparse, what the Scotch would call skleff, niggardly volume.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 2:
On the skleff, strecht streetch at the heed o the brae.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 20:
Ee've straampeet eet as skleff as a pancake. A never saw sic a thin craittir; she's as skleff as a fir dael.

3. Flat-footed (Rnf. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Hence comb. skleff-fittit, id. (Rxb. Ib.).

4. Equal, even, or level in a competition with a competitor (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); quits, in regard to a debt, on even terms (Rxb. 1970).Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 20:
A've paid the accoont, so oo're skleff.

5. = Eng. flat, of a statement of one's opinion or determination, final, definite, not to be gainsaid (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., that's skleff).

II. n. 1. With def. art.: flat, level ground (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1970, on the skleff).Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 20:
A was luntin alang the skleff, towrt Denum.

2. In dim. skleffie: a flat thin stone used in playing ducks and drakes over the surface of water (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1970).

3. A thin slice of anything (Cld. 1825 Jam., s.v. sclaffer).

[Prob. onomat. in orig., imit. of a flat, slapping sound or motion. Cf. Sclaff.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: