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Alternative forms[edit]


UK 1940s, originally military slang. From Egyptian Arabic شُفْتِ، شُفْتِي(šufti, have you seen?, literally you saw), a conjugation of شَاف(šāf, to see).


  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈʃʊf.ti/, /ˈʃʌf.ti/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʊfti, -ʌfti


shufti (plural shuftis)

  1. (UK, slang) A brief glance.
    • 1961, Peter Cook, Beyond the Fringe (AfterMyth of War):
      "Perkins, we are asking you to be that one man. I want you to lay down your life, Perkins. We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war. Get up in a crate, Perkins, pop over to Bremen, take a shufti, don't come back. Goodbye, Perkins. God, I wish I was going too."
    • 1992, Tom Holt, Tall Stories, Orbit (2004), page 276,
      "Caucasus mountains," said the driver. "I think. Let's have a shufti at the map."
    • 2005, J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Raincoast Books ; Bloomsbury, page 431,
      "When we come face to face with [a ghost] down a dark alley we're going to be having a shufti to see if it's solid, aren't we, we're not going to be asking, 'Excuse me, are you the imprint of a departed soul?'"