Thursday, February 10, 2005

Take a shufti at this

A 'shufti' is a look or a glimpse, and it comes from the Arabic 'saffa' - to try to see.


Jemaleddin said...

Saffa isn't the arabic verb "to see" but "shaffa/yashufu" is. If one were to say "I saw it" and "it" was a masculine noun, you could say, "shuftu-he" which, when said quickly, would sound like "shufti" in certain dialects.

But I've never heard of "shufti" in English.

Tom said...

As far as I knew, the "shufti" (or whatever the correct spelling was; long since phono-anglicized) was the balcony in a harem from which one would look at the selection of women on offer and make one's pick. Hence, to scout out the situation, see what's available: "to have a shufti".

Suw said...

Hang on... does this mean the esteemed Oxford English Dictionary got it wrong? Oh, heaven forefend!

I use 'shufti' all the time, as in "Can you take a shufti at this for me please?"