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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CHAFT, Chaff, n. Also chauff (Lnk. 1880 Cld. Readings (Short) 144). Chiefly northern, and since 17th cent. only dial. (N.E.D.). [tʃɑf(t)]

1. The jaw. Gen. (as Eng. jaw) used in pl. Known to Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Lnk.3 1939 in the form chaft.Sc. a.1856 G. Outram Lyrics (1874) 94:
He [dog] lay sae canty i' my plaid, His chafts upon my shouther-blade.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 16:
I mind weel the day he cam tae redd
The dowie raws i my yaird
The breath o fields risin frae his chafts ...
Abd.(D) 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War (1918) 26:
An' tho' I barely fell't him twice wi' wallops roon the chafts, I had to face the Shirra for't.
Lnl. 1881 H. Shanks Musings Under the Beeches 237:
The ruder sex to him repair, Wha wad hae chaft and chin made bare.
Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull (1930) 120:
The laddie at the oars had a lang stick wi' a cleek at the end o't, which he stuck into the chaffs o' the fish and dragged into the boat.

2. The cheek (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Kcb.1 1939). Gen. in pl.Sc. a.1706 Bonny Heck in J. Watson Choice Collection (1869) I. 70:
Shame fa the Chafts, dare call that Thift, quo' bonny Heck.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 122:
Is there . . . onything sae beautifu' as the . . . saft chafts o' a bit smilin maiden.
Abd.(D) 1916 G. Abel Wylins fae my Wallet 17:
An' I can crack the rottans' backs Afore they bite my chaft.
m.Sc. 1979 Ian Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 40:
They coost me doon at the Maister's feet:
ma chaffs were burnin an reid wi shame.
m.Sc. 1991 Robert Calder in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 139:
He's whiles been juist a trace ahint the lave?
(Ilk morn he hes the fower chafts tae shave).
Knr. 1886 “H. Haliburton” Horace in Homespun, etc. 53:
Wha wad prefer your runkled chaft To rosy Meg's, sae smooth an' saft?
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine's Visit ii.:
As red in the chafts as a boiled lobster.

3. Proverbs:Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 310:
The Piper wants mickle that wants the under Chaffs. [Other collections have muckle and nether for mickle and under.]
Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs 52:
O'er mickle loose Leather about your Chafts.

4. Phr.: fair i' the chafts, right in the face.Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlvi.:
Jist's we cam' up to Union Street fa sud we meet fair i' the chafts, but Mrs Birse paraudin' awa'.

5. Combs.: (1) chaft-blade, “jaw-bone” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); cheek-bone; known to Abd.2, Fif.10 1939; †(2) chaft-taak, idle talk; (3) chaft-tooth, a molar (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Fif.10 1939); (4) chan(d)ler chafts, see Chandler.(1) Ags. 1849 Montrose Standard (2 March) 8/3:
Thae puir mill lassies are sad and thin i' the chaft blades.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) viii.:
I saw the blae marks of my four fingers along his chaft-blade.
(2) Abd.(D) 1742 R. Forbes Ajax His Speech in Sc. Poems (1767) 4:
As far in chaft-taak he exceeds Me, wi' his sleeked tongue.
(3) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin v.:
I' the midst o' the hushel-mushel twa o' my mither's chaft-teeth were dung clean oot o' her head.

[O.Sc. chaft, cheft, a jaw, c.1420, chiefly in pl. chaftis; also chaft-blade, 1540 (D.O.S.T.); O.E. cēafl, a jaw (Sweet), *ceaft. Cf. O.N. kjaptr, kjöptr, idem (Zoëga); Eng. dial. chaff and chuff (E.D.D.).]

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"Chaft n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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