cuff1 n OED ~ sb1 obs (1362-1467); cp EDD
hedge v 5 (4): hedging-cuffs; DAE Newfoundland 2: Newfoundland cuff (1884).
1 A thick usu fingerless mitten, made of wool, swanskin or
leather, worn in winter; cp MITT.
 1792 CARTWRIGHT i, 78
After this disaste, I found, that besides being so wet, I had lost one of my cuffs in the
water. 1792 ibid Gloss i, x ~ s. Mittens to wear upon the hands. They resemble
those made use of by hedgers in England.  1818 BUCHAN 4 Spare snow shoes, buskins,
vamps, cuffs, and twenty-eight knapsacks. 1836 [WIX]2 51 I was glad to procure
a pair of 'cuffs' or mittens, made in this bay, of a kind of thick woollen or swan-skin.
1866 WILSON 214 The cuff is for the hand, made like a mitten, but the substance is a
stout, white cloth, called 'swanskin.' It is doubled on the back of the hand,and stitched
until it is almost impervious to water. [1894 BURKE] 53 'There's one thing about
blanketing cuffs,' said a Harbour Main man, 'let them be ever so wet and cold. they're
always warm and dry.'  1927 DOYLE (ed) 67 "The Kelligrews Soiree": We had boiled
duffs, cold duffs. / And sugar boiled in knitted cuffs. 1914 Cadet Apr, p. 7
Swanskin cuffs, with a separate place for the thumb only, were worn on the hands and the
headgear in winter was a warm. if awkward-looking cap made of fur. T 50/2-64 They'd have
black wool, too, to mix with [the white] to make grey, for cuffs and socks. T 185--65
You'd always wear swanskin cuffs out birdin', out sealin'; 'twas white, they'd have that
doubled. I've made hundreds o' pair, cuffs. 1975 POCIUS 31 A mit contains no partitions
between three or four of the fingers, though the thumb is always separate. A mit is
commonly referred to as a 'cuff.'
2 A fisherman's heavy
mitten, often with fingers cut off, used to protect the hand in hauling lines or
splitting fish; HAUL v: HAUL-ON; SPLITTING CUFF.
1895 GRENFELL 228
Hence the distribution of woollens, cuffs, etc, comes as a great boon to many a poor
fisherman whose hands are cut by the lines. T 203-65 We'd have what we call a cuff; that
is just a palm and a thumb. We'd use them when we'd be haulin' the nets. 1971 NOSEWORTHY
190 ~ A type of glove used for splitting fish. It may be a full glove or may have the
fingers cut out. Often made of calico or flour bags. 1979 NEMEC 275 Using the same woolen
'cuff' (mitt) which he used to hold onto the fish while it was being split...
3 Strap on horse's harness into which cart-shafts fit.
T 100/1-64 There was what they used to call breechin'a big
double machine [of] heavy leather, to go right around from the back pad, and there was
cuffs on the back pad, strap for the shafts to go in.
lick one's cuff: to submit to any humilitation in order to secure an object (1896
J A Folklore ix, 37).