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

  • Baby Rosamond bundled out backward, dropping Boffin as she did so.

  • Rosy Posy was too little to have a special chum, so Boffin was her companion.

  • Then they played other games, in which Boffin joined, and also Marjorie's kitten, Puff.

  • "I don't think the Duke will dress himself like that," said Mrs. Boffin.

    The Prime Minister

    Anthony Trollope

  • "It is very well done,—very well, indeed," said Mr. Boffin to him.

    The Prime Minister

    Anthony Trollope

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