Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
DEAF, DEEF, Deif, Daef, adj. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. deaf. [dif Sc., but Sh., Cai. def, Ags. deɪf, Per., Fif., Slg. + def]
1. (1) As in Eng. = hard of hearing. Gen.Sc. The form deef is also found in Eng. (mainly n.) dial. Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xix.:
Mistress Cowieson can be maist conveniently deif where folk speir.Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. xxix.:
He's as deef's a door-nail.Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 79:
"Father," says she,
"mind your menners." "Whit?" bawls he,
convenient deif whiles, "Whit?" em.Sc. 1991 James Robertson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 172:
There is nae justifiein us ava, our thrawn weys,
Our sklent een an our deif, deif lugs. Fif. 1929 A. Taylor Bitter Bread 102:
I didna jalouse ye were deef and dumb as well.Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 15:
Aye, aye, aye. He's always so fuckin loud. Ah'm no fuckin deef, ya cunt! Ayr. 1789 Burns Kirk's Alarm iii.:
Provost John is still deaf To the church's relief.Slk. 1914 Southern Reporter (17 Dec.) 9/1:
Ye're awfu' deef gettin', John. Can ye no' hear the powney?Tyr. 1928 “M. Mulcaghey” Ballymulcaghey (1929) 15:
There's no use in payin' half-a-crown for a dog that's as deef as a stone.
Hence deafie, deefie, a deaf person (Sh., Ork., Fif. 1975; Sh., Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s).Edb. 2001:
Deefie! Ah've telt ye umpteen times tae pit the buckets oot!Gsw. 1988 Michael Munro The Patter Another Blast 18:
deefie a cheeky name to call a deaf person: 'Hey deefie! Ah telt you tae get oot ma road.'
Comb.: deef-lugs, the common houseleek, Sempervivum tectorum (Ayr. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.); small valves in the ventricles of the heart of an animal (Sh. 1975). For lugs cf. Eng. auricle.
(2) Quiet, silent.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
The deef side o' a street.
2. Unproductive, empty, barren; of soil: poor, “spongy or springy to the tread (but dry)” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); of coal: dead, burning without flame. Cf. Dowf, adj., 5.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Grain that hath lost the power of germinating is said to be deaf.n.Sc. Ib.:
Deaf ground, an insipid soil, that either produces no crop, or a very insufficient one.Abd. 1777 J. Anderson Essays II. 324:
In some of the spungiest, or, as the practical farmer would call it, deafest places.Arg.1 1937:
Deef grun and deef laan are terms applied to poor, light, unresponsive soil.Dmf. 1894 J. Shaw in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 145:
Deaf coals don't burn easily.
Comb.: deaf nit (nut), a nut without a kernel (Lnk.3 1940); used fig. of something hollow, unsubstantial, usu. in phrs.: †(1) nae deaf nit (nuts), no trifle, no inconsiderable matter or person; (2) not (to be) fed (up)o(n) (wi') deaf nuts, (to be) plump, well-fed, well-developed; (3) not to leeve on deaf nits, = (2). Common in Eng. dial .Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan II. x.:
I wadna gie the worth of a deaf nit for the truth o' the intelligence.(1) Sc. 1721 Allan Ramsay The Works of Allan Ramsay Vol. I (1944-5) 23:
Saxty Pounds Scots
is nae deaf nits: In little Bouk
Lie great Bank-Notes.Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate xxiv.:
Bryce Snailsfoot says, that the value will mount to an hundred pounds English, and that is nae deaf nuts.Peb. a.1835 J. Affleck Poet. Wks. (1836) 81:
I'm nae deaf nit: my tocher's fifty pounds in hale.Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems, etc. I. 151:
His lang head Is nae deaf nit for Lair.(2) Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs 82:
Ye're not fed wi' deaf Nuts.Abd. 1817 Broadside in Garland of Bon-Accord (1886) 4:
An' Rob, wi's brosy wame Wasna fed upo' deaf nits.Fif.10 1930:
A well-developed child at birth in Fife was hailed with the remark, “Ay, this ane hasna been fed on deaf nuts.” The expression . . . was a ritual expression all over Fife.(3) Sc. 1824 Susan Ferrier The Inheritance (1984) 380:
"... but I'm astonished, Elizabeth, that anybody come to your time of life, and who has kept a house so long, can think that people can live upon deaf-nuts now-a-days."Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 227:
He didna leeve on deaf nits onyway.
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"Deaf adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/deaf>