Monday, February 18, 2019

SCLAFF- verb to graze or slap
 
Sclaffing is most commonly found in the context of playing golf, where it means grazing the ground with the club in the act of striking the ball.  Depending on the skill of the golfer, this may or may not be deliberate.  For example, Sir W G Simpson in The Art of Golf (1887) advises that “A great secret of steady putting is to make a point of always ‘sclaffing’ along the ground”.  On the other hand, the fact that sclaffing is not always intentional is evidenced by its appearance in this list of undesirable shots: “It mattered not whether his master ‘sklaffed’, or ‘topped’, or ‘heeled’ his ball”,  from J G McPherson’s Golf and Golfers (1891).  
 
From its basic meaning, to strike or slap with an open hand or other flat surface, sclaff can be used of walking in a flat-footed or shuffling way, planting the feet on the ground with a slapping motion or sound.  Thus we find “She eye gangs sklaffin’ aboot wee aul’ slippers on” in Walter Gregor’s The Dialect of Banffshire (1866).  Hence a sclaffer, who may be sclaffy-fittit, is a clumsy, flat-footed person.