Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.”

[Imitative in origin.]

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"Chiff v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Oct 2018 <>



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