One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
adjectiveIrish English, English Regional, Scottish, Northern
1Dull, flat; lacking in spirit or energy, listless; inactive.
2Sad, melancholy, out of spirits.
3Of a sound: dull, flat, hollow. Now somewhat rare.
4Of a day, etc., with regard to its weather: dull, overcast; hazy. Compare "duff". Now rare.
5Of vegetable matter: decayed, rotten, lacking the kernel or substance. Compare "deaf nut", "duff". Now rare.
nounIrish English, English Regional, Scottish, Northern
A dull blow, typically the result of striking with something soft; the sound made by such a blow; a thud. Also in "to play dowf": to thump. Compare "duff", "doof [noun²]". Now rare.
no object To thump, buffet, punch, or strike (someone or something), especially with a soft object or substance. Also without object. Frequently with down. Occasionally also without object: to land with a thud.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Gavin Douglas (c1476–1522), poet and bishop of Dunkeld. Probably partly from early Scandinavian<br>early 19th century (in an earlier sense). Partly from dowf.
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