Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[bof-in] /ˈbɒf ɪn/
noun, British Slang.
a scientist or technical expert.
Origin of boffin
First recorded in 1940-45; origin uncertain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for boffin
Historical Examples
  • But in spite of all their fine things, Mr. and Mrs. boffin remained the same good, kind-hearted couple they had always been.

    Tales from Dickens Charles Dickens and Hallie Erminie Rives
  • Rosy Posy was too little to have a special chum, so boffin was her companion.

    Marjorie's Busy Days Carolyn Wells
  • Bella's eyes followed him to the door, lighted on Mr boffin complacently thrown back in his easy chair, and drooped over her book.

    Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens
  • "It is very well done,—very well, indeed," said Mr. boffin to him.

    The Prime Minister Anthony Trollope
  • Mr. boffin wanted to tell everybody the truth at once, but John would not let them.

    Tales from Dickens Charles Dickens and Hallie Erminie Rives
  • Then Mr. boffin took away Mrs. boffin, much to that lady's regret.

    The Prime Minister Anthony Trollope
  • This, not to release any little advantage he might derive from Mr boffin's avowal.

    Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens
  • "There doesn't seem to be a doubt about it," said Mr. boffin.

    Phineas Redux Anthony Trollope
  • Mrs. boffin, as I judge of her from the sketch, "very good, indeed."

  • Mr boffin went over these stones slowly and with much caution.

    Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens
British Dictionary definitions for boffin


(Brit, informal) a scientist, esp one carrying out military research
a person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular field: a Treasury boffin
(informal) someone who is considered to be very clever, often to the exclusion of all non-academic interests
Word Origin
C20: of uncertain origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for boffin

"person engaged in innovative research," especially in aviation, 1945; earlier "elderly naval officer" (1941), probably from one of the "Mr. Boffins" of English literature (e.g. "Our Mutual Friend").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for boffin



An expert, esp in a scientific or technical field: Computer boffins play a game called hunt the wumpus

[WWII British aviators; origin unknown; conceivably fr a humorous comparison between the laboratories and shops of experts and the enormous trash heaps of Mr and Mrs Boffin in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for boffin

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for boffin

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for boffin