Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.
CHIFF, v. “To spit, making a noise or puff with the lips” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 25). Not known to our correspondents.
Hence also chiffer-oot, one bearing a name tabooed among fishermen (see quot.).ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore of N.-E. Scot. 200:
In Buckie there are certain family names fishermen will not pronounce. . . . The folks of that village speak of “spitting out the bad name.” If such a name is mentioned in their hearing they spit, or, in the vernacular, “chiff.” One bearing the dreaded name is called a “chiffer-oot.”
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