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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BUMFLE, BUMFILL, Bumphle, Bumphil, Bumphel, v. and n. [bʌmfl, ′bʌmfɪl]

1. v. Gen. used as ppl.adj. and followed by up.

(1) To puff out. Ppl.adj. bumphled, bulging.Fif. 1872 Mrs G. Cupples Tappy's Chicks 253:
A' the time, there he sat, wi' his speckled breast bumfled up like a ba', but never whistling a note.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables R. Cummell iii.:
He was tickled at my wee bumphled pooches stappit fu' o' peeries and bools.

(2) To roll up untidily; “to rumple up” (Rnf.1 c.1920; Sh., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). Known to Abd.19, Fif.10, Edb.1, Arg.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1937.Edb. 1992:
Yer troosers are aw bumfled where ye've no tucked yer vest in right.
Uls. 1908 A. M'Ilroy Burnside iii.:
The girls opposite looked self-conscious on account of new dresses and some of them having their hair bumphilled up for the first time.

(3) “To overload with clothes, making one seem stouter than one is” (Abd.7 1925, bumfill).

2. n. An untidy bundle; a pucker, ruffle, in a garment (Ags.1 1937); “an untidy mass of clothing” (Uls.1 c.1920, bumphel). Known to Fif.10 1937.Sc. 2002 Kathleen Jamie Among Muslims 36:
I rolled the vast waist over and over upon itself and pulled the tie round hard. I heard my grandmother's voice: 'Hen, ye've got a bumfle!'
m.Sc. 1994 Mary McCabe Everwinding Times 127:
Lacking Jasmine's skill with the needle, she rolled the waistband of her school skirt over four times and stretched a waspie around the bumfle.
Lth. 1933 (per Lnk.3):
Tak' the box oot o' your pooch; it maks a bumfill in the breeks.
m.Lth. 1993:
Ye're no gaun oot like that; yer T-shirt's aw runkles and bumfles.
Kcb.1 1937:
You have the blankets in a bumphle round your neck.

[Prob. from Bumph, n., 1, q.v., with frequentative suff. -le.]

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"Bumfle v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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