Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THAFT, n. Also thaff (Fif.) and Sh. forms ta(a)ft, ¶toft (Sh. 1881 in A. Halcrow Sail Fishermen (1950) 169). Sc. forms and usage of Eng., now n. dial., thoft. See P.L.D. § 54 and T, letter, 9. A rower's seat or bench in a boat, a thwart (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh. (taft), Ork., n. and e.Sc. 1972). Each thaft had its designation, as eft t(h)aft (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), efteran- (Bnff. 1930), the bench nearest the stern, fore-thaft, the bench nearest the bow (Id.), midship- (Id.), skair-, the one next to the eft thaft. [θɑft; Sh. tɑft] Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 512:
He took Hackie aff o' da skair taft.
Ork. 1824 P. Ork. A.S. X. 52:
Rudders and thaft, 3½d. per lb.
Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales 79:
He was leaning over the thaft with his back to the land.
Fif. 1862 St Andrews Gaz. (27 Dec.):
Supported by two oars and a thaft.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (3 June):
He laid da peerie taft across da haanks o' da fowereen.
Mry. 1914 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 24:
In the coble, however, there are thafts and not baaks.
Ork. 1951 R. Rendall Ork. Variants 12:
Tae sit apae a thaft and lift an oar.
Sh. 1956 U. Venables Life in Shet. v.:
The four Papa men on the tafts.

[O.Sc. thoft, 1513, Mid.Eng. thoft, O.E. þofte, O.N. þopta, id.]

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"Thaft n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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