chuff, you


chuff, you
   This word was once in general use but is perhaps now dialectal. ‘Listen to this, you chuff,’ says a speaker in Magnus Merriman, by Eric Linklater. He equates it with ‘you simpleton’ and ‘you country slab’. ‘Chuff’ actually means either a clown, or a surly man. The word occurs once in Shakespeare, when Falstaff accosts some travellers in Henry the Fourth Part One (2:ii): ‘Hang ye, gorbellied knaves, are ye undone? No, ye fat chuffs.’ ‘Gorbellied’ here means ‘with fat bellies’. The use of ‘you fat little chuff’ in Alan Sillitoe’s A Tree on Fire may be a Shakespearean echo. It is used by a father to his nineteen-year-old daughter.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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