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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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Ruf(e, Ruif(f, n.1 Also: ruft, rwf, ruufe; ruef; ruif(f)e, ruyf(f, rwif(e, rwiff; ruff(e, rwff(e; rouf, rouf(f)e, rowf; rofe, roiff; roff(e; roof(f, roof(f)e. Pl. ruffis, etc., and ruves, ruuys; rowis and rwys. [ME and e.m.E. rhof (Orm), rof (c1200), roue (Ancr. R.), roof (Wyclif), ruffe (north., c1440), OE hróf. Cf. OIcel. hróf boat-shed. Cf. also Refe n.3]

1. A roof of a building. Also comb. Cf. c below, with which there is some overlap.In pl., ? sometimes referring to the two ‘halves’ of a sloping roof.For further examples, see Bilȝett n., Coupill n. 2, Kippil(l n. 1, Lofting n. and vbl. n., Platform(e n. 1 a, etc.Rufe and pan, pan and rufe, see Pan n.2 for further examples. The two quots. from Glasgow Prot. may be connected with sense 4 a below.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 60.
He saw angelis … One the ruf of that house lycht
1425 Acts II 12/2.
vj or ma cleikis of yrn to draw downe tymmer and ruffis at ar fyryt
1482 Peebles B. Rec. I 191.
[They] sall wphald the said kylle … in wall rybbis and in ruf, and mak dew seruice and sufficiand to serwe the nychtbouris … in the drying of thar cornes
1494 Ib. 195.
He sal mak the ruf of the turngreys completly al to the thekyn
1496 Treas. Acc. I 302.
For coupling of xv coupill to the chapel ruf
1513 Doug. ii viii 11. c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke xii 3.
That that ye haue spokinin ere in couches salbe prechit in [rendering, after Purvey, L. in = upon] ruves
1532 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 100.
To the said kechin ruf in xiiii cupillis to the samen with baulkis angularis and ryn pan [etc.]
1535–6 Ib. 179.
Ruuys [ed. rumys]
1546 Edinb. Guild Ct. 2 June.
Ane small corbell for the rest of his ourtre of his penteis to beir the ruf thairof
c1550 Corr. M. Lorraine 442.
Leid cassin for beiting of the leidin rwfis and gwtaris of yowr grace werk in Falkland
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1384.
This ark … was … Couerit with brudis weill abufe, Moste lyke ane housse with sett on rufe, Quhose rigyng wes ane cubeit braid
1554–5 Edinb. B. Rec. II 356.
To be serking to ane new rufe
Ib. 358.
To ane masoun for fitting of the rufe to the kippillis
1563 Montgomery Mem. II 198.
The haill lugeing is with suffecient ruft, watter tycht
1607 Anal. Scot. I 400.
The north quarter of your majesties palice of Linlythgow is fallin, rufe and all, within the wallis to the ground
1643 Orkney Rentals App. 56.
Anent the reparation of the kirk rufe
(b) 1513 Doug. vii Prol. 118.
And kays keklis on the ruyf aboyn
1535 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 184.
Tymmer … to the keiching ruiffis
1539 Treas. Acc. VII 216.
To the ruiff of the chapell … xj dosane x treis
Ib. 218.
Skailȝe coft in Peblis to mend the ruiff of the grete hall witht
1563 Dunferm. Ann. 211.
And als the ruif thairof, in leid, theiking, beting, and mending of the samyne fra weit
1585 Dundee B. Laws 124.
1589 St. A. B. Ct. 17 Sept.
And to putt wp sufficient tabling langis the wall abone bayth the saidis inner housis quhairby the ruif thairoff mey be sufficientlie valter thicht
1597–8 Edinb. B. Rec. V 210.
The kirk ruiffes … wes ruinous and falteis
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 4.
1603 Ib. 96.
1611 Macgibbon & Ross V 6.
The walls of the jame to ryis of sik heicht abone as may mak the ruiff of the jame als heiche as the ruiff of the mayne hous
1618 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 118.
For iij great aikin tries to be feitt and brydillis to the ruiff
1621 Acts IV 627/1.
If the same thack or straw ruifes sall heirefter at anye tyme becum ruinous
1638 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 410.
Avisand quither or no it suld be a platt or a upstanding ruiff as abefoir
1652 Peebles B. Rec. II 6.
William Lowes, proveist … , for reparatioun of the said church, to repaire ane sevinth pairt of the tuo partes of the said ruife
1653 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 134.
Except the ruiff, syleing and wallis of the said yll
1657 Edinb. B. Rec. IX 56.
Agries with Johne Scott master wright … to make ruiffs and rinruiffs for the turnpyks
1676 J. M. Beale Fife Schools 199.
[The walls were] hightit, and the ruif helpit, and the fluire laid
1695 Glasgow B. Rec. IV 157.
For building ane sufficient house of stonework, with a sclait ruife
(c) 1603 S. Leith Rec. 3/2.
1635 Glasgow B. Rec. II 31.
1666 Ellon Par. 144.
(d) 1630 Boyd Fam. P. No. 137 (22 Oct.).
1640 Kirkcudbr. Min. Bk. 66.
That the sklait roofe of the hows and batlement thairof be taken downe with the lofting thairof
1642 Mylne Master Masons 138.
1671 Cramond Ch. Speymouth 31.
For 6 load of hedder to the kirk rooffe
1684 Thanes of Cawdor 367.
The said jamme is to be … jested over and made fitt to receave a roofe or cover of lead
(e) 1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) 168.
At the upputting of the ruff of the chapell
1542 Treas. Acc. VIII 132.
For iijc skelȝe to mend the ruffe of the grete hall
a1578 Pitsc. I 244/16.
1641 Strathendrick 79.
It is to be feared that the ruff and timber thairof consume … unless tymous remeid be used
(f) 1583–4 Perth B. Ct. 23 Jan.
Fand the said barne alluterlie decayit nether haiffing lofting nor roiff
(g) 1648 Edinb. B. Rec. VIII 152.
The beatting of the weatther on the lairge flait roff thairof
1682 Elgin Rec. II 312.
The toofall roffe
(h) 16.. Rudiments fol. 28b.
(2) 1556 Glasgow Prot. II 11.
[With power to fix ligna et tigna, commonly called] pan and rwif [in the said gable]
1600 Ib. XI 145.
[With the privilege of building to the said gable and] pan [and] rufe [therein]
1682 Stirling Common Good 177b.
For building of an new kilne with furnishing of lumeis couples pan & rooff cabers thack [etc.]

comb. (see also Ruf(e)-spar n. and Ruf(e)-tre n.). 1589–1600 Skipper's Acc. (Morton) 58b.
For xxi rofe making garons
1679 Inverness Rec. II 281.
The thesaurer … to caus sett on the rooff thache & finishe the touns hous at the bridgend

b. Under … rufe, in (any, or a particular person's) house. Also in fig. context.Under ane rufe, forming part of the same building.(1) a1508 Want of Wyse Men 26 (Ch. & M.).
Rycht na resone vnder na rufe has rest
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. viii 8.
Lord, I am nocht worthi that thou entire vndir my rufe
1596 Dalr. I 31/30.
Thay nevir thair heid sett vndir the ruffe of ony hous
1701 Cramond Kirk S. IV 4 July.
A woman which he calles his neice stayes under roofe with him in the night time
(2) 1580 Edinb. Test. VIII 64.
I leue to … my spous … the chalmer & peithous that is all vndir ane ruif
1621 Perth Kirk S. MS 24 Sept.
They cum wp wpone an letter within ane wther hous nixt the stabill all wnder ane ruiff

c. specif. The wooden substructure which forms the basis of a roof, as distinct from the upper covering of turf, thatch, slates, etc.; the materials used for this, collectively.See the note to 1 above. c1459 Reg. Paisley Pref. vi n.
He … put on the ruf and theckit it with sclait, and riggit it with stane
1466 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 23.
To mak the ruiffes of guid tymmer and theik thame with sclaitt
c1515 Asl. MS I 228/25. 1508 (c1580) Edinb. B. Rec. I 117.
Ane compleit ruf all of akin tymer
1513 Doug. i vii 14.
Sum grathis fast the thak and rufe of tre
Ib. vii v 135.
And dedly fyrbrondis kyndill in thak and rwys
1551 Reg. Cupar A. II 69.
For the constructioun … of our said place … in rwff sclatis thayk dyffat and vtheris necessarys efferand thairto
1551 Hamilton Cat. 134.
A wricht can nocht mak the ruif of ane house bot of tymmer
1565 Bentinck Dornoch 121.
Oure said fortalice … is … rewynois in wallis, thek, rowis, durris [etc.]
1576 Misc. Spald. C. II 43.
The beigin and thikin of the rwife of the northt yell of our parrise kyrk … was begwin
1594 Acts IV 71/2.
Gif the samyn [houses] be found auld decayed and rwinous in ruif sklattis durris [etc.] … or ony of thame
1598 Elgin Rec. II 69.
For repairing thairof … in theck ruiff vallis [etc.]
1599 Cart. S. Giles cxiv.
The sclaittis and rwiff of thair kirk hes bene greatlie damnefeyed be … criminall persouns
1649 Bk. Old Edinb. C. XX 80.
These southmost housis … to be reedifiet and buildit and … the ruiff put on and theikit
c1650 Spalding II 154.
He tirrit the too-fallis of the haill office houssis … and careit rooff and sklait away
1692 Cullen Kirk S. 1 May.
The walls gaveill rooff sklaits windows [etc.] … of the said church

d. specif. A specific part of the wooden framework of a roof. ? = Ruf(e)-spar n. or Ruf(e)-tre n. 1539 Treas. Acc. VII 226.
To help to heis up the ruif of the said werk for setting of the cupyll
1587 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis fol. 5a (25 April).
That thai haif to carie the tymmir of samony with thame at the flitting, as ar without cuppillit syillis baikis & ruffis
1610 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. II 67.
30 pair auld raiffis pannis and ruffis and full tymbir of John Ewartis hous
1630 Bamff Chart. 224.
An pleneschit coupel with thrie pans and tuo ruiffis

e. The decorated interior roof, or ceiling, of a hall, temple or the like. a1500 Rauf C. 670.
The hall was properly apperrellit and paintit … The rufe reulit about in reuall of reid
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1912.
For all the ruif … Hang full of plesand lowpit sapheiris cleir
Id. Æn. i ix 105.
Amyd the hie rufe of the mekill hall, For the banket, mony rich claith of pall Was spred
Ib. ix vii 86.
At … Thy haly tempillys rufe or bawkis hie, Gif ever I hung or fixit ony thyng
1575 Edinb. Test. III 363.
xvij elnis of schorne warkis for ruiffis

f. The ceiling of an apartment in a building. Also leaycht ruyff. 15.. Clar. v 1320.
And thay all cryit … with sik ane [michtie] noyse … That to the rufe the chalmer did redound
1563 Inverness Rec. I 101.
Hendre Kar … desyrit … attollerance … of the wyndois on the eist syde of his house vnder his leaycht ruyff benetht the thek
1680 Foulis Acc. Bk. 63.
I have agreed with the painter for … 2 ruifs in the chambers, whyting and the transs and the hall sad colour
1704 Rothesay Par. Rec. 178.
The whole rooffe and side walls of the cellar

g. Thack roof, the upper covering of thatch placed on the substructure. 1681 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 19.
And the heritors in West Port Potterrow Bristo and Pleasant to remove ther thack rooffes and to theik the houses kills and barne with sclat or tylle

2. A shelter (for sheep).Cf. later Sc. dial. roo ‘an enclosure in a grass field in which cattle are penned during the night’ (SND, s.v. Roo n.2). 1578 Aberd. Chart. 340.
And thairfra keipand the ald corne fald dykis quhill it cum to the ruiff quhair the saser stane is maid in the syd of the said ruiff
1664 Fraser P. 158.
Be casting downe ane pairt of … the scheip ruiff

3. The highest point of a hill or eminence. Also fig. 1537 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III 17.
Fra that to a carn callit the Leurok carn upon the north side of the roof of the Bog hill
fig. 1588 King Cat. 60.
Bot the perfectione and ruif of the haill wark is charitie

b. The ruiff (of the mouth), the palate. Only fig. Blak in the ruiff of the mouth, foul-mouthed, given to abusive language. 1619 Perth Kirk S. MS 23 Aug.
The said William … callit hir blak in the ruiff of the mouth, … being askit quhat he menit thairby exponit to be ane skald

c. fig. The rufe of (a person's) hart, ? the highest point, hence, the whole (heart). 1588 King Cat. App. 30.
O maist sueit breade, hail the roof of myne hart, that I may teaste the sueitnes of thy loue
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. Pray. 14.
Purge the ruiffe of my hart, that I may … goust the sweitnes of this celestial fuid

d. The top or ‘ceiling’ of a coal working. Only attrib. 1684 Fawside Coal Compt 125.
For ruffe coall takeing doune, £5

4. a. ? The right to construct buildings on a piece of land. b. ? A roofed building, or ? a piece of land on which permission to build has been granted (but perh. erron. for Rud(e n.1 II.a. 1541 Reg. Great S. 547/2.
Terras suas et villam de Petlevy et brasinas earundem, cum toftis, croftis, pasturis, privilegiis et lie ruiff ad easdem spectantibus … in baronia de Panmure, vic. Forfare
b. 1578 Prot. Bk. A. Gibson 40b.
The said Dauid … to bruik joise labour … and to plant beit and bige … the said wod [= void] ruiff and aker of land abon specefeit

5. A canopy, esp. one over a bed, or its support; a tester.(1) 1478 Acta Aud. 67/1.
The ruf of a bed
1482–3 Acta Conc. II cxxiii.
A doun bed with … rufe and hedis of erras
1490 Treas. Acc. I 189.
For xij elne of bucram to lyne the rufe of it [sc. a bed]
1501 Ib. II 23.
For vj fawdome of tow to the ruf
For … sewing silk to be frenȝeis to the kingis ruf of scarlat
1502 Ib. 36.
For … taffeti to be ruf, courtingis, and ane pane to the kingis let-de-camp
1506 Ib. III 51.
Satin birge to be ane ruf for the kingis bed in schip
1516 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 71.
Ane ruffe of taffatyis
1548 Edinb. B. Rec. II 136.
Ane stand bed with … rufe
1569 Prot. Bk. J. Drummond 77.
Courtingis of purpour … with thair rufe and pendicle of the same fessoun
1596 Sc. Hist. Rev. III 22.
The piktar of the crucifix at the ruif of his ladeis bed
1602 Treas. Acc. MS 96.
Taffatie … to cover the ruiff of the bed
1603 Montgomery Mem. II 246.
For … fyne lesing to put on my rufes
1610 Hist. Kinloss A. xi.
Ane stand of grene damask courtenes, contening the rouf, the taister, and sax peces of courtenes
1648 Spottiswoode Misc. I 371.
1653 Soc. Ant. XXIII 303.
Ane imbrodered rooff and head peece for a bed
1680 Moncreiffs 666.
(2) 1508 Treas. Acc. IV 23.
For … taffetj … to the courtingis and ruf in the chapell of the barres
1516 Edinb. B. Rec. I 161.
A rufe abone the comptar heid
1519 Reg. Episc. Aberd. II 174.
1561 Inv. Q. Mary 18.
Ane claith of estait … furnissit with ruif and the taill
1578 Inv. Wardrobe 205.
Ane da of crammosie velvot embroderit with gold, contening the ruif of the heid pece and thre double pandis

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"Ruf n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <>



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