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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RUIF, n., v. Also ruiff (Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 18), rufe (Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm lv.), rüf(f) (Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 56, 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 98, Sh. 1968), roef (Sh. 1950 New Shetlander No. 20. 42), roff; raif (Uls. 1898 A. McIlroy Meeting-Hoose Green 107), riff (Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 318; Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 38); reef (Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 93; ne.Sc. 1968), dim. reefie (Abd. 1921 R. L. Cassie Doric Ditties 23). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. roof. Hence ruifless, reefless, roofless, ruift, reeft, roofed. [I., m. and s.Sc. røf, rɪf; n.Sc. rif]

1. As in Eng. Sc. form of Eng. roof.Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 21:
'Twis flichterin an switherin on the heich wire that ran atween the twa hoose reefs bi the park at the back o the shoppie far he wirkit.

Sc. combs.: (1) roof rotten, the black rat, Rattus rattus. See Ratton; (2) reeftap, ne. Sc. form of Eng. rooftop; ‡(3) roof-tree, the main beam or ridge of a roof. Gen.Sc. Hence fig. = house, home, domicile.(1) Sc. 1819 Scots Mag. (July) 506:
Black rotten, Roof Rotten.
(2)ne.Sc. 1996 W. Gordon McPherson in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 20:
" ... an beyont the reeftaps the parks an fowk wirkin in thim, an beyont that the blue hills wi the sin shinin on thim."
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 48:
In hyne-aff Embro, or far-oot Lunnen, twis fair the dab tae tell the warld an its mither ye were gay - faith! ye micht roar it frae the reeftaps in yon cosmopolitan hotch-potch o fowk...
(3) ne.Sc. c.1783 King Henry in Child Ballads No. 32. v.:
Her head hat the reef-tree o' the house.
Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 114:
On these [rafters] rested cross-beams on the sides called ribs or pans and the one on the top was termed a roof-tree.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate xiv.:
Amidst many a pledge to the health of their absent landlord, and to the prosperity of his roof-tree.
m.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan (1868) 535:
I have been with those wha wish weel to the rooftree of the house of Kilcomrie.
Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Sketches 159:
Love ye the rooftree o' John Knox? Then act thegither.
Sc. 1875 Stevenson Ess. Trav. (1905) 146:
Wood for the fire, or for a new roof-tree.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 133:
Spoken o' in that disrespectfu' mainner aneth his ain reef-tree.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 168:
Let silence rule the rooftree.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 113:
Da sailer ower da roff-tree.

2. The ceiling of a room (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 170). Gen.Sc.wm.Sc. 1888 Anon. Archie Macnab 80:
To hae the hoose turned upside doon, and the riff whiten'd.
Cai. 1932 John o' Groat Jnl. (28 Oct.):
He ties 'e stringie roond his corrag an' made her spin fae 'e floor til 'e reef.
Abd.4 1935:
Three draps h'ard on the reef o' the aul box beds wis a sure sign o' death.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 16:
Breathin oot the names
Written fae flair tae ruif
O the deid Jews.

[O.Sc. ruf, 1375 rufe-tree, 1570.]

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



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