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[muhf] /mʌf/
a thick, tubular case for the hands, covered with fur or other material, used by women and girls for warmth and as a handbag.
a bungled or clumsy action or performance.
Sports. a failure to hold onto a ball that may reasonably be expected to be caught successfully.
a tuft of feathers on the sides of the head of certain fowls.
Slang: Vulgar. a woman's pubic area.
See under muff glass.
verb (used with object)
Informal. to bungle; handle clumsily:
He muffed a good opportunity.
Sports. to fail to hold onto (a ball that may reasonably be expected to be caught successfully); fumble.
verb (used without object)
Informal. to bungle; perform clumsily.
Origin of muff
early Medieval Latin
1590-1600; < Dutch mof, earlier moffel, muffel mitten, muff < Old North French moufle < early Medieval Latin muffula, perhaps < Frankish
Related forms
muffy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for muffed
Historical Examples
  • Next he muffed the drill with a wad of felt and applied it to the safe door.

    The Silent Bullet Arthur B. Reeve
  • Game and Tipper muffed the jump, and it was left to the other three.

    The Willoughby Captains Talbot Baines Reed
  • He muffed his first jump, and we all thought the game was up.

    The Master of the Shell Talbot Baines Reed
  • Oswald does not like giving up a thing just because it has once been muffed.

    New Treasure Seekers

    E. (Edith) Nesbit
  • Hatted, furred, and muffed, she leaned on her fathers shoulder.

    Atlantic Narratives Mary Antin
  • They certainly laced into me for further orders when I muffed a ball.

    Baseball Joe at Yale Lester Chadwick
  • He felt, during that moment, like a drum-major who had “muffed” his baton on parade.

    The Shadow Arthur Stringer
  • Pender got a life, when his high fly to third was muffed by Willis.

    Baseball Joe, Home Run King

    Lester Chadwick
  • The Aztec had been shaken down too often and too thoroughly for Intelligence to have muffed.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • My goodness, popper, I guess Curzon and I have sort of muffed it somehow!

    Cleek of Scotland Yard

    Thomas W. Hanshew
British Dictionary definitions for muffed


an open-ended cylinder of fur or cloth into which the hands are placed for warmth
the tuft on either side of the head of certain fowls
Word Origin
C16: probably from Dutch mof, ultimately from French mouffle muffle1


to perform (an action) awkwardly
(transitive) to bungle (a shot, catch, etc) in a game
any unskilful play in a game, esp a dropped catch
any clumsy or bungled action
a bungler
Word Origin
C19: 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
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Word Origin and History for muffed



"warm covering for the hands," 1590s, from Dutch mof "a muff," shortened from Middle Dutch moffel "mitten, muff," from Middle French moufle "mitten," from Old French mofle "thick glove, large mitten, handcuffs" (9c.), from Medieval Latin muffula "a muff," of unknown origin. In 17c.-18c. also worn by men. Meaning "vulva and pubic hair" is from 1690s; muff-diver "one who performs cunnilingus" is from 1935.



"to bungle," 1827, pugilism slang, probably related to muff (n.) "awkward person" (1837), perhaps from muff (n.) on notion of someone clumsy because his hands are in a muff. Related: Muffed; muffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for muffed



  1. : dropped the ball, ''the $75,000 muff,'' as it was called
  2. A wig; a toupee; rug: wasn't wearing his muff (1940s+)
  3. The vulva and pubic hair; beaver (1699+)


To fail; botch, esp by clumsiness •The older example refers to playing cricket: This is a ripe one. Don't muff it, Billy (1837+)

[verb sense fr the clumsiness of someone wearing a muff on the hands]

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