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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. IX).

Stif(f)ing, Steif(f)ing, Stuffin(g, (vbl.) n. Also: stiffin(e, -inge, stif(f)en, stiphen, styffin, stev(e)ing, stew(e)ing, steiving, stuffine. [17th c. Eng. stiffing (once, 1611); Stif(f v.]

1. The action of Stif(f v. a. To stiffen, starch ((part of) a garment, cloth). b. To strengthen (joists).a. 1532 Edinb. Hammermen 136b.
Item for stuffin & weschingis [sic] of Sanct Lucis curches & Our Lades aganis pace
1541–2 Edinb. Hammermen 159. 1543 Edinb. Hammermen 160b. 1624 Perth Kirk S. MS 23 March.
Beatrix Wichtoun … schew that men resortit to hir hous for wasching and stiffing of thair ruffis
c1638 Tract. Leg. Naval. 65b.
Stirch indigo is made in Holland for stearching or stiffing of wheat
b. 1554 Edinb. B. Rec. II 206.
To the bigging of the Tolbuith and steving of the geistis of the over hous thairof

c. Starch. Also comb.(a) 1597 Bk. Rates in Halyb. cxiv.
Inuarte Custumes … Stiffine callit amedone the stane thairof xl s. … the jc wecht thairof xij li.
1602 Conv. Burghs II 146.
Fleyming, … his present gift of making of stiffing [marg. Flemying, meyddum-maker]
1602 Tailor's Acc. Bk. 15.
Twa vnce of blew stiffing x s.
1604 Dundonald Par. Rec. 55.
The said John Park … brocht to him as it ver pikilis of stiffing and causit the said Alexander get an cap full of nev aill quhairin he pat the said pikillis of stiffing
1610 Brechin Test. II 102b.
Tua part of ane trey of stiffinge
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 321.
Moden or stiffing the hundreth weght, x li.
1616 Edinb. Test. XLIX 160b.
Four hundretht … pund wecht quhyt stifing … thrie scoir sex pund wecht blew stifing
1617 Edinb. Test. L 36b.
1623 Orkney Bp. Ct. 48b (see Stiff v. a). 1627 Orkney & Shetl. Test. I 170.
1650 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. LI (1975) 55.
Quhairvpon he did contract ane heavie and greit disease and dwyned moir nor ane ȝeir in greit torment his sueit being lyk stiffing vpoun his shirt
1662 Brechin Test. VI 237b.
1665 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 50.
1691 Brechin Test. VIII 33b.
(b) 1613 Conv. Burghs II 395.
1627 Glasgow Chart. II App. 582.
James Cuynghane, soip half lb. steiffing [pr. steiffng] 48 lb. wecht, salt 2 bollis, succer 8 lb.
(c) 1601 Reg. Privy C. VI 288.
[Making] amedone or stuffing
1601 Reg. Privy C. VI 288.
Making and selling of the said amedone callit stiffing
comb. 1621 Edinb. Test. LI 60.
Elias de Planquas stifing maker
1637 Edinb. Test. LVIII 211b.
The furnishing of the stiffing work in Leith
1656 S. Leith Rec. 103.
That Adam Gairns his land besyd the new hospitall wch was called the stiffing house payes yearlie ten pound sterling

2. a. Stiffening, material used for stiffening (part of) a garment. Also attrib. and comb.Quot. 1599 Tailor's Acc. Bk. in (b) has previously been interpreted (at Burlat n. and Sewin(g vbl. n.1 1 (d)) as ‘sewing’; ‘stiffening’, however, seems more appropriate to both the lexical and orthographic contexts.Stiffing knyff, ? a knife for cutting stiffening material.(a) 1566 Treas. Acc. XII 17.
ix elnis of claith to be stuffine
1566 Mill Mediæv. Plays 341.
For hardin quhilk was stuffing to ane pairt of the saidis cleithingis
(b) 1589 12th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. viii 104.
Item for tua ellis of blak gray to mak one front and steiffing to the schulderis
1599 Tailor's Acc. Bk. 13.
Stewing to this same goun bodyes and burlittis
1599 Treas. Acc. MS 41b.
For stenting steifing and caddes xx s.
1599 Treas. Acc. MS 45b.
vj quarteris of stenting … half ane eln of steveing
1600 Treas. Acc. MS 42.
Stenting steving lyning [etc.] … for outredding of his said abuilȝement
1600 Treas. Acc. MS 105b.
1603 Eglinton P. (Hist. MSS Comm.) 31.
Thri yards of stenting and steifing [pr. steiping] 3 s.
1604 Tailor's Acc. Bk. 31.
For steving & stenting to cover the balling with of ȝour dochteris twa goun bodyis
1642 Tailor's Acc. Bk. B. 51.
For steweing to the cloik neck, iiij s.
(c) 1612 Conv. Burghs II 375.
Paiper, caird, cames, stiffing, and all uther sort of gross wairs
attrib. 1579 Edinb. Test. VII 329b.
Nyne elnis of quhyt stuffing claith price of the eln xl d. … sex elnis of gray stuffing claith price of the eln xl d.
1586-7 Acc. Lady Bellenden 2.
Half ell stuffingray
1592 Treas. Acc. MS 67.
Four elnis steving clayth price iij li. iiij s.
1594 Argyll Acc. 10 Jan.
Item for steving gray to it
1597 Treas. Acc. MS 51b.
1600 Tailor's Acc. Bk. 4b.
Ane ell of steving harne to the same dowblit
1600 Treas. Acc. MS 120b.
Steifing claith to the saidis gownis
1606 Tailor's Acc. Bk. 42.
vj quarteris of steving stenting to stive nekis & burris
1626 Berw. Doc. fol. 1 No. 22.
Half ane ell of steiving buckrem to steive the neck buvis and buistis
comb. 1645 Edinb. Test. LXI 135.
Ane stiffing knyff pryce thairof 1 lib.

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



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