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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.


1. “A former practice, in blessing a corpse, of the attendants putting their hands in the three empty dishes placed on the hearth near the body, and repeating the rhyme of saining, beginning thus: — ‘Thrice the torchie, thrice the saltie, Thrice the dishes toom for loffie'” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obs.).s.Sc. c.1830 T. Wilkie in Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 55:
The company of attendants then walk out of the room where the body is laid, either to the door, or into another room, and instantly return to the apartment where the corpse is, backwards, and place their hands in the dishes and repeat a rhyme of saining. This was called dishaloof.

2. A game in which the players pile their hands one on top of the other; the bottom hands are then withdrawn consecutively and placed on top with a slap (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 173, dish-a-loof; Rxb. 1825 Jam.2).

[Dish + Loof.]

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"Dishaloof n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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