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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GLOFF, n., v. Also glauf(f), glouf(f), glowff, gloaf, gloffe. Cf. Glaff, Gliff, Gluff, n., v.1

I. n. 1. A sudden fright, a shock, a scare (Mry.1 1925 glowff).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 337:
There came never such a Gloff to a Daw's Heart.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 37:
But ere I wist, I clean was at the float, I sanna tell you, what a gloff I got.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Poems (1865) 321:
Till the gloffs o' dread shot to my heart.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 12:
A hare sprang frae a hole in the bucht-dyke and gaed Robbie an unco gloff.
w.Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo i.:
Nancy's ash-hole was a deep yin . . . and when I saw the sheepheid gaun oot o' sicht, I tell ye, I got a glauf.

2. A sudden burst of heat or cold, a “glow, uneasy sensation of heat, producing faintishness” (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Ayr. 1954).Sc. 1826 H. Duncan W. Douglas III. v.:
Only look at the flakes o' fire carried by the wind as thick as snaw! . . . I find the gloaf o't already.
Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems 22:
See them from their ingles venturin', Scornfu' o' their temptsome glouff.
Dmf. 1874 R. Reid Moorland Rhymes 70:
Ye come like a glouf o' the winter sun, yin hardly kens ye are here.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables xxx.:
Then it [the rain] fell like saugh wauns through the glowffs o' the storm.

3. A sudden variation in the density of darkness.Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 69:
And ay we raide, and se merrily we raide, Throw the merkist gloffis of the night.

4. A whiff, a breath (of fresh or cool air).Ags. 1853 Montrose Standard (8 July) 7:
Ance Highland air was reckoned free . . . But now a gloff fouk daurna pree, 'Tis countit treason.

5. A short snatch, a “wink” (of sleep); “unquiet or disturbed sleep” (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Gliff, n., 2. (1). Variant deriv. form ¶glochar [ < *gloffer] (Fif. 1886 G. Bruce Poems 296).Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiii.:
Tibbie an' me got a gloff o' sleep between that an' aucht o'clock.
Dmf. 1922 Rymour Club Misc. III. 101:
I never steeket an ee binna a glauf atween hauns.

6. A flash or something similarly quick and instantaneous.Dmf. 1874 R. Reid Moorland Rhymes 20:
The mawkin, houn'd wi' fear, Gaed like a glouf the bracken through.

7. A sudden or slight attack.Rnf. 1873 D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 20:
I get whiles a glouf o' conscience.

II. v. 1. To look scared, to look startled; to start with fright.Abd. 1755 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 30:
Gin ye had seen how the auld hag gloffed fan she fell down.
Abd. 1778 A. Ross Helenore 71:
I gard a witch fa' headlins in a stank, As she was riding on a windle strae, The carling gloff'd, and cried out, will-awae!

2. To take a short unsound sleep (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Vbl.n. gloffin, -en, a short snatch of sleep. Cf. I. 5.s.Sc. 1839 Wilson's Tales of the Borders V. 96:
Ye maun just lie down an' try if ye can get a gloffen o' sleep.

[Origin obscure; prob. imit. Cf. Glaff, Gliff and Gluff, n., v.1]

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"Gloff n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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