from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The palm of the hand.
  • n. The hand, especially, the hand outspread and upturned.
  • n. A contrivance (apparently a paddle or an oar) used for altering the course of a ship.
  • n. The after part of the bow of a ship where the sides begin to curve.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The spongelike fibers of the fruit of a cucurbitaceous plant (Luffa Ægyptiaca); called also vegetable sponge.
  • n. Formerly, some appurtenance of a vessel which was used in changing her course; -- probably a large paddle put over the lee bow to help bring her head nearer to the wind.
  • n. The part of a ship's side where the planking begins to curve toward bow and stern.
  • intransitive v. See luff.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • The earlier spelling of luff.
  • n. The palm of the hand; also, the hand itself.
  • n. A contrivance (apparently a paddle or an oar) for altering the course of a ship. See etymology.
  • n. That part of a ship's bow where the sides begin to curve in toward the stem. See luff.
  • n. A Middle English form of loaf.


From Middle English lufe, lofe ("palm of the hand"), from Old English *lōfa, from Proto-Germanic *lōfô (“palm of the hand; paw; oar blade, paddle”), from Proto-Indo-European *lāp-, *lēp- (“to be flat”). Cognate with Scots luif ("the palm of the hand"), Swedish love ("wrist"), Icelandic lófi ("palm of the hand"), Gothic  (lófa, "palm of the hand"), German dialectal Laffe ("flat hand, palm"). Related to glove. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English lof ("a contrivance for altering a ship's course, paddle, oar"), from Middle Dutch loef ("an oar or paddle used in steering"), ultimately from the same origin as Etymology 1. (Wiktionary)



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  • True saintliness calls for some proof:
    One, praying, might drift to the roof,
    Or, best of all data,
    Could bear the stigmata,
    The blessing of wounds in the loof.

    September 16, 2016

  • Their manners are odd and contrary.
    With strangers they’ll be a bit chary.
    But extend your loof
    In amity's proof
    And Scotsmen won’t be too scary.

    June 4, 2014

  • Nonchalant.

    March 22, 2009

  • a-loof?

    March 22, 2009

  • "The after part of a ship's bow; or that part of her side forward where the planks begin to be incurvated as they approach the stem: hence, the guns which lie here are called loof-pieces."
    Falconer's New Universal Dictionary of the Marine (1816), 245

    October 14, 2008