buffalo

[buhf-uh-loh]
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noun, plural buf·fa·loes, buf·fa·los, (especially collectively) buf·fa·lo.
  1. any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae.Compare bison, Cape buffalo, water buffalo.
  2. buffalo robe.
  3. a buffalofish.
  4. a shuffling tap-dance step.
verb (used with object), buf·fa·loed, buf·fa·lo·ing. Informal.
  1. to puzzle or baffle; confuse; mystify: He was buffaloed by the problem.
  2. to impress or intimidate by a display of power, importance, etc.: The older boys buffaloed him.

Origin of buffalo

1535–45, Americanism; earlier bufalo < Portuguese (now bufaro) < Late Latin būfalus, variant of Latin būbalus bubal

Buffalo

[buhf-uh-loh]
noun
  1. a port in W New York, on Lake Erie.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for buffalo

buffalo

noun plural -loes or -lo
  1. Also called: Cape buffalo a member of the cattle tribe, Syncerus caffer, mostly found in game reserves in southern and eastern Africa and having upward-curving horns
  2. short for water buffalo
  3. Also called: bison US and Canadian a member of the cattle tribe, Bison bison, formerly widely distributed over the prairies of W North America but now confined to reserves and parks, with a massive head, shaggy forequarters, and a humped backRelated adjective: bubaline
verb (tr) US and Canadian informal
  1. (often passive) to confuse
  2. to intimidate

Word Origin for buffalo

C16: from Italian bufalo, from Late Latin būfalus, alteration of Latin būbalus; see bubal

Buffalo

noun
  1. a port in W New York State, at the E end of Lake Erie. Pop: 285 018 (2003 est)
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 buffalo
n.

1580s (earlier buffel, 1510s, from Middle French), from Portuguese bufalo "water buffalo," from Latin bufalus, variant of bubalus "wild ox," from Greek boubalos "buffalo," originally a kind of African antelope, later used of a type of domesticated ox in southern Asia and the Mediterranean lands, perhaps from bous "ox, cow" (see cow (n.)). Wrongly applied since 1630s to the American bison. Buffalo gnat is recorded from 1822.

Buffalo

city in western New York state, U.S., of disputed origin (there never were buffalo thereabouts), perhaps from the name of a native chief, or a corruption of French beau fleuve "beautiful river." Buffalo wings finger food so called because the recipe was invented in Buffalo (1964, at Frank & Teressa's Anchor Bar on Main Street).

v.

"alarm, overawe," 1900, from buffalo (n.). Probably from the animals' tendency to mass panic. Related: Buffaloed; buffaloing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

buffalo in Culture

Buffalo

City in western New York, on Lake Erie and the Niagara River.

Note

Niagara Falls is northwest of Buffalo.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.