a person who amuses others by tricks, jokes, odd gestures and postures, etc.
a person given to coarse or undignified joking.

Origin of buffoon

1540–50; earlier buffon < French < Italian buffone, equivalent to buff- (expressive base; compare buffa puff of breath, buffare to puff, puff up one's checks) + -one agent suffix ≪ Latin -ō, accusative -ōnem
Related formsbuf·foon·er·y [buh-foo-nuh-ree] /bəˈfu nə ri/, nounbuf·foon·ish, adjective

Synonyms for buffoon

1. jester, clown, fool. 2. boor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for buffoon

Contemporary Examples of buffoon

  • Apparently, he was known in the Foreign Office as "HBH"—His Buffoon Highness.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Good Riddance to Prince Andrew’s Day Job!

    William Underhill

    July 23, 2011

  • That messy hair of his that I always thought was buffoon hair was buffoon hair hiding a monster cock.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rupert Everett Unleashed

    Kevin Sessums

    April 6, 2009

  • Well, Coughlin was a buffoon, too, and in 1932, the party of Herbert Hoover was also in disarray.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Who Made Frank Rich God?

    Lee Siegel

    March 16, 2009

  • Keep that source of remarkable strength all quiet on the buffoon front.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Good Riddance, O.J.

    Stanley Crouch

    December 6, 2008

Historical Examples of buffoon

  • Do not fancy you can be a detached wit and avoid being a buffoon; you cannot.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • She had made him a laughing-stock, a buffoon, a political joke.


    Holworthy Hall

  • As dictator, he is a buffoon; let him make himself emperor, he will be grotesque.

  • Martyrdoms were represented on the stage, the martyr being the buffoon.


    William Graham Sumner

  • They are at San Antonio—the baker, the buffoon, the two young men who dig.

British Dictionary definitions for buffoon



a person who amuses others by ridiculous or odd behaviour, jokes, etc
a foolish person
Derived Formsbuffoonery, noun

Word Origin for buffoon

C16: from French bouffon, from Italian buffone, from Medieval Latin būfō, from Latin: toad
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 buffoon

1540s, "type of pantomime dance;" 1580s, "clown," from Middle French bouffon (16c.), from Italian buffone "jester," from buffa "joke, jest, pleasantry," from buffare "to puff out the cheeks," a comic gesture, of echoic origin. Also cf. -oon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper