noun British Slang.

a scientist or technical expert.

Origin of boffin

First recorded in 1940–45; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for boffin

Historical Examples of boffin

  • A kind, shrewd man was Mr. Boffin, devoted to his wife, whom he greatly admired.

  • He manifestly objected to communicate with Mr Boffin's solicitor.

    Our Mutual Friend

    Charles Dickens

  • In the splendid Boffin house they lived happily for many years, surrounded by Bella's children.

    Tales from Dickens

    Charles Dickens and Hallie Erminie Rives

  • I think it will be quite enough to say that I had a difference with Mr Boffin, and have left for good.'

    Our Mutual Friend

    Charles Dickens

  • Curls had been brushed, hair-ribbons freshly tied, and even Boffin had a new blue ribbon round his neck.

British Dictionary definitions for boffin



British informal a scientist, esp one carrying out military research
a person who has extensive skill or knowledge in a particular fielda Treasury boffin
informal someone who is considered to be very clever, often to the exclusion of all non-academic interests

Word Origin for boffin

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

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