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2017 Word of the Year

tuft

[tuhft] /tʌft/
noun
1.
a bunch or cluster of small, usually soft and flexible parts, as feathers or hairs, attached or fixed closely together at the base and loose at the upper ends.
2.
a cluster of short, fluffy threads, used to decorate cloth, as for a bedspread, robe, bath mat, or window curtain.
3.
a cluster of cut threads, used as a decorative finish attached to the tying or holding threads of mattresses, quilts, upholstery, etc.
4.
a covered or finished button designed for similar use.
5.
a cluster of short-stalked flowers, leaves, etc., growing from a common point.
6.
a small clump of bushes, trees, etc.
7.
a gold tassel on the cap formerly worn at English universities by titled undergraduates.
8.
a titled undergraduateat an English university.
verb (used with object)
9.
to furnish or decorate with a tuft or tufts.
10.
to arrange in a tuft or tufts.
11.
Upholstery. to draw together (a cushion or the like) by passing a thread through at regular intervals, the depressions thus produced being usually ornamented with tufts or buttons.
verb (used without object)
12.
to form into or grow in a tuft or tufts.
Origin of tuft
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English, variant of toft(e) < Middle French tofe, toffe < ?; E parasitic t as in graft1
Related forms
tufter, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tuft
Historical Examples
  • When he looked up, the pony was stolidly cropping a tuft of grass.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet
  • Upon his brow he placed a tuft of feathers of the same shining tints.

    The Indian Fairy Book Cornelius Mathews
  • I wiped it with a tuft of bracken, and I laughed with something of a bitterness.

    Gilian The Dreamer Neil Munro
  • A tuft of hair protruded from a hole in the crown of his hat.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx
  • She was fixing a tuft of flowers in his cap, singing softly as she did so.

    Sir Ludar Talbot Baines Reed
  • He had but fifty yards to go, and started to glide stealthily from tuft to tuft.

    "Wee Tim'rous Beasties" Douglas English
  • She did so and found p. 67herself sitting on a tuft of rushes, and not in a palace.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
  • His head is shaved, with the exception of a tuft on the crown.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • She flushed again as she heard me, and plucked her tuft of grass.

    Simon Dale

    Anthony Hope
  • A tuft of hair stood up on his crown like the crest on a game-cock.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots

    Caroline Lockhart
British Dictionary definitions for tuft

tuft

/tʌft/
noun
1.
a bunch of feathers, grass, hair, etc, held together at the base
2.
a cluster of threads drawn tightly through upholstery, a mattress, a quilt, etc, to secure and strengthen the padding
3.
a small clump of trees or bushes
4.
(formerly) a gold tassel on the cap worn by titled undergraduates at English universities
5.
a person entitled to wear such a tassel
verb
6.
(transitive) to provide or decorate with a tuft or tufts
7.
to form or be formed into tufts
8.
to secure and strengthen (a mattress, quilt, etc) with tufts
Derived Forms
tufter, noun
tufty, adjective
Word Origin
C14: perhaps from Old French tufe, of Germanic origin; compare top1
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 tuft
n.

late 14c., perhaps from Old French touffe "tuft of hair," either from Late Latin tufa "a kind of crest on a helmet" (also found in Late Greek toupha), or from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German zopf, Old Norse toppr "tuft, summit;" see top (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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7
8
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