Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DAFT, Dauft, adj. Now chiefly Sc. and Eng. dial. (N.E.D.). [dɑft Sc., but em.Sc. + dft]

1. Foolish, stupid, wanting in intelligence, silly. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf i.:
A' the warld tells tales about him, but it's but daft nonsense after a' — I dinna believe a word o't frae beginning to end.
Sh.(D) 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 13:
“Dünna be daft, man,” Sibbie said.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 15:
I was dauft eneuch to mak' a grab at him as he disappeared ower the side.
Dmf. [1777] J. Mayne Siller Gun (1808) 13:
And, what was dafter, Their pawky mithers and their dads Cam trotting after.

2. Crazy, demented, mad; “wild” (Abd.6 1913). Known to Bnff.2, Abd.19, Fif.1, Arg.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.10 1939. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 207:
The Issachars of State Frae haly Drums first dang us daft, Then drown'd us in Debate.
Sh.(D) 1891 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 36:
He loupit da Ocean, sae daft wis his hurry, An cled her in white bridal garmints o snaa.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 36:
Dear keep's, ye're surely daft or fou. That I sud ban!
Ayr. 1796 Burns To Colonel de Peyster (Cent. ed.) v.:
Bright wines and bonie lasses rare, To put us daft.
Ayr. 1901 “G. Douglas” Green Shutters v.:
A braw lass she was . . . as daft as a yett in a windy day. [The expression was current in Lnk. 1880 (Edb.3).]
Uls. c.1920 J. Logan Ulster in the X-rays (2nd ed.) vii.:
Whun yin got frichtened they a' went daft.

3. Frivolous, giddy, thoughtless (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.1, Arg.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.9 1939). Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act I. Sc. ii. in Poems (1728):
Daft Lassie, when we're naked, what'll ye say, Gif our twa Herds come brattling down the Brae, And see us sae?
Abd. a.1807 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 97:
Whan I was young and daft like you It might hae dane, But near threescore wad best I trow, Lat that alane.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 209:
A wow na John, the daft louns will laugh at you, and she'll think shame.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) iii.:
I was sairly tempted at times, oot o' sheer joy and lichtness o' hert, to leeve the hard, dry road and rin . . . wi' the daft scamperin' wee bit lammies.

4. Extremely fond, “crazy” (about); very eager. Often followed by preps. aboot, for, on. Known to Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.9 1939. Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 17:
O ho, quo Peter, greet nae mair! Troth lass I'm nae sae daft about ye, But I can live fell well without ye.
Abd.26 1946:
My Jeannie's daft aboot dancin'.
Edb. [1893] W. G. Stevenson Wee Johnnie Paterson, etc. (1914) 126:
They dowgs is just daft to get oot.
Hdg. 1902 J. Lumsden Toorle, etc. 274:
And, like a' laddies thereabouts, Our twa were daft on “catching trouts.”
Lnk. 1922 G. Blake Clyde-Built 15:
Och, it's this Merson laddie. She's daft for Jean to marry him and be one of the gentry.

5. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) daft-berries, the berries of the deadly nightshade, Atropa belladonna; (2) daft days, (a) a time of frivolity and merriment (Abd.2, Edb.1 1939); hence extended to mean one's youth (Bnff.2 1939); †(b) in phr. the daft days, used specifically of the period of festivity at Christmas and the New Year (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang.; Edb. 1772 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 9); (3) to give someone the daft een, “to give someone a blow” (Fif. 1916 (per Ags.3)). (1) Ags. 1848 W. Gardiner Flora Frfsh. 133:
Common Dwale, or Deadly Nightshade. . . . Thefruit are here termed “daft-berries,” as the mere tasting of them produces delirium.
(2) (a) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 201:
“And when,” said the Jingler . . . “did ye see ony body frae the lan' o' your daft days, Saunders?”
(b) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvi.:
Fu' o' venturesome deeds and escapes, sic as folk tell ower at a winter-ingle in the daft days.
Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters I. vii.:
At the period of which we are writing, a custom generally prevailed, which appears now in danger of becoming obsolete — “The Daft Days,” as they were appropriately termed, of Yule, New Year, and Handsel Monday, were set apart for the meeting of friends and intimate neighbours, to dine or sup (often both) together, when good cheer, home-brewed, and hearty welcome, promoted the conviviality and rustic mirth of the company.
Arg. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days vii.:
The daft days (as we call New Year time) passed — the days of careless merriment, that were but the start of Bud's daft days, that last with all of us for years if we are lucky.

6. Hence (1) daftie, an imbecile; one who is slightly deranged mentally; a fool; Gen.Sc.; (2) daftish, “in some degree deranged” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Abd.9, Fif.10 1939); (3) daftly, foolishly, stupidly (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1939); (4) daftness, foolishness (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10, Kcb.9 1939); †(5) daftrie, “fun and frolic” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 36). (1) Sc. [1870] C. Gibbon For the King (1872) I. i.:
The Daftie still maintained his position.
Bch. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd iii.:
Naebody at hame bit Meggie an' yon daftie Tam.
Fif.1 1939:
The town-idiot of St Andrews was generally known as Jocky P —, the daftie.
(3) Sc. 1724–27 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1733) 34:
We daftly thought to row in rowth, But for our daffine paid right dear.
(4) Abd.4 1929:
The folly o' youth's naething tae the daftness o' auld age. (Said about late marriages.)

[O.E. gedaefte, gentle, meek; Mid.Eng. daft, gentle, mild, stupid. The sense of “stupid” occurs in O.Sc. c.1420; that of “crazy, insane” 1456; that of “marked by, proceeding from, want of sense” c.1490, and that of “thoughtless, giddy” 1573; daftly, foolishly, occurs c.1626 and daftnes, folly, wantonness, from 1552 (D.O.S.T.). For sense-development, cf. Eng. silly and innocent. The Eng. adj. deft derives from the same root as daft.]

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"Daft adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Aug 2020 <>



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