This old Scottish dialect word for a commotion, fuss or disturbance has become so popular that the spelling ‘kerfuffle’ has become standard in most dictionaries. There are, however, many different earlier spellings, such as, carfuffle, curfuffle etc. The expression dates from the early 19th century in written form but of course was in the spoken language long before this. Sir Walter Scott in his novel The Antiquary (1816) wrote, “He puts himself into a curfuffle.” (Note the spelling.) It derives from the Scottish Gaelic car, meaning to twist or bend, and fuffle, meaning disorder.