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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

SKIFTING, n. Also scifting, skifthing, scefting. A narrow piece of boarding, esp. one put round the foot of the walls of a room, a skirting-board (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; em., wm. and s.Sc. 1970). Also skifting-board, id. (Watson).Edb. 1754 Contract for building Exchange App.:
To skifting-boards, corner styles, and wall-plates, 93 yards, at 2s. 6d. To 25 yards skiftings, at 2s. 6d.
Edb. 1782 Session Papers, Milne v. Thomson (21 Sept.) 15:
To grounds, scefting, and fallings, per foot lineal . . . 1½d.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 161:
The space at the bottom of the walls, between the wall and the back of the scifting board.
Sc. 1842 J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 185:
Take stone, hewn and well jointed, and set it as a skifthing round the whole wall.
Rnf. 1904 Private MS. per wm.Sc.1:
Plaster grounds and skifting.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 60:
Fixin' a skiftin roon the lobby.
Fif. 1933 J. Ressich Thir Braw Days 28:
Tearin' up the skiftins an' fair cawin' the guts oot o' the presses.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 144:
And with her stick she chapped the walls; the stonework around the lum, the wooden skifting at floor-level, the floorboards themselves.

[Poss. a deriv. of Skiff, n.1, 1. (3), Skift, n.1, 3., though attested much earlier, the meaning assimilating to that of skirting, which appears in Eng. about the same time.]

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"Skifting n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Aug 2022 <>



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