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[buh-foon] /bəˈfun/
a person who amuses others by tricks, jokes, odd gestures and postures, etc.
a person given to coarse or undignified joking.
Origin of buffoon
1540-50; earlier buffon < French < Italian buffone, equivalent to buff- (expressive base; compare buffa puff of breath, buffare to puff, puff up one's checks) + -one agent suffix ≪ Latin -ō, accusative -ōnem
Related forms
[buh-foo-nuh-ree] /bəˈfu nə ri/ (Show IPA),
buffoonish, adjective
1. jester, clown, fool. 2. boor. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for buffoon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Do not fancy you can be a detached wit and avoid being a buffoon; you cannot.

    Alarms and Discursions G. K. Chesterton
  • She had made him a laughing-stock, a buffoon, a political joke.

    Rope Holworthy Hall
  • As dictator, he is a buffoon; let him make himself emperor, he will be grotesque.

    Napoleon the Little Victor Hugo
  • Martyrdoms were represented on the stage, the martyr being the buffoon.


    William Graham Sumner
  • They are at San Antonio—the baker, the buffoon, the two young men who dig.

  • He was the buffoon, who went by a woman's name, Nastasya Ivanovna.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for buffoon


a person who amuses others by ridiculous or odd behaviour, jokes, etc
a foolish person
Derived Forms
buffoonery, noun
Word Origin
C16: from French bouffon, from Italian buffone, from Medieval Latin būfō, from Latin: toad
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
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Word Origin and History for buffoon

1540s, "type of pantomime dance;" 1580s, "clown," from Middle French bouffon (16c.), from Italian buffone "jester," from buffa "joke, jest, pleasantry," from buffare "to puff out the cheeks," a comic gesture, of echoic origin. Also cf. -oon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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