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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GROOF, n., adv., v. Also grouf(f), growf, grufe; greuf, gruff, griff (Ork.), †gruif(fe), †groofe. [Sc. gruf; Ork. grøf, grʌf, grɪf]

I. n. ‡1. In phr. on one's groof (or adv. a grouf, see Agrouf), apae-, i'-, flat on one's face, prone (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr., Gl. 692, Ayr.3 1910, gruif; Mry.1 1925; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1924 North. Whig (Jan.); Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork.5 1955).Sc. 1712 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 66:
He observes a man lying on his groofe in the watter, and his head in it.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 127:
Doun on their groof lay five or sax.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize viii.:
The honest man of Crail darted aside, and lay flat on his grouff ayont a bramble bush.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) II. 69:
Rowin yoursel on the floor, on your groof. [I. 293, grufe, IV. 262, gruff.]
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 39:
Sunnin' gae her a fiend o' a wallop on her back end, an ca'd her i' greuf on de fleur.
Knr. 1886 “H. Haliburton” Horace 8:
Whaur on his growf he groans for grace.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 192:
Streekit on my grufe, dreaming below its giant trees.
Lth. 1933 H. H. Wood R. Henryson 257:
A friend of mine lately heard a young mother with a crying infant being advised to “turn the bairn agrufe.”

2. By extension: the face, the belly. Used fig. the front, first part.Sc.(E) 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xviii. 15:
Syne war the wames o' the watirs seen, an' the growf o' the warld unhappit was.
Sc. 1909 R. M. Fergusson Silver Shoe-buckle 56:
Get up, Donald, the groof o' the morning bids ye welcome. It's unco early, nae doot.

II. adv. Prone, flat.Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 70:
He was att the tyme lyeing gruiffe upon the ground.

III. v. To lie flat on the belly (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I., Gl., grouf).

[O.Sc. has grouf, growf, grufe, gruff, etc., with on, from c.1400; Mid.Eng. one (the) gro(w)ffe; O.N. *grúfa in phr. liggja á grúfu, to lie face down, on one's belly, grúfa, to grovel. Cf. Agrouf.]

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"Groof n., adv., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2022 <>



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