• synonyms


[buhf-uh l-hed]
  1. a small North American duck, Bucephala albeola, the male of which has bushy head plumage.
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Origin of bufflehead

1855–60, Americanism; buffle (see buff1) + head
Related formsbuf·fle·head·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bufflehead

Historical Examples of bufflehead

  • There is one bufflehead among them—no, two; the rest are coots,' I replied.

    In Search of the Unknown

    Robert W. Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for bufflehead


  1. a small North American diving duck, Bucephala (or Glaucionetta) albeola : the male has black-and-white plumage and a fluffy headAlso called: butterball
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Word Origin for bufflehead

C17 buffle from obsolete buffle wild ox (see buff 1), referring to the duck's head
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 bufflehead


small North American duck, 1858 (buffle-headed duck attested from 1831), from buffle (1510s), obsolete variant of buffalo (n.) + head (n.). So called for its large head; earlier the noun meant "stupid person" (1650s; cf. also buffle-headed "big-headed," also "foolish," 1650s).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper