[boo-fahnt, boo-fahnt; French boo-fahn]


puffed out; full: a bouffant skirt.


a woman's hair style in which the hair is teased to give an overall puffed-out appearance and often combed to frame the face.

Origin of bouffant

1875–80; < French: literally, swelling (bouff(er) to swell + -ant -ant)
Related formsbouf·fan·cy [boo-fuh n-see] /ˈbu fən si/, nounsem·i·bouf·fant, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bouffant

Contemporary Examples of bouffant

Historical Examples of bouffant

  • She smiled to see the old men with their high-waisted pants and the old women with their bouffant hair.


    Cory Doctorow

  • To the American eye it is a musical comedy costume, picturesque, bouffant, amazing.

    Fanny Herself

    Edna Ferber

British Dictionary definitions for bouffant



(of a hair style) having extra height and width through back-combing; puffed out
(of sleeves, skirts, etc) puffed out


a bouffant hair style

Word Origin for bouffant

C20: from French, from bouffer to puff up
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 bouffant

1869, from French bouffant, present participle of bouffer "to puff out," from Old French bouffer (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *buffare, probably ultimately imitative of puffing. As a noun by 1870. Earlier as a French word in English. First used of hairdo style 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper