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 buffoonery

Contemporary Examples of buffoonery

Historical Examples of buffoonery

  • It was cruel that his extreme unhappiness should have in it something of buffoonery.

    The Moon and Sixpence

    W. Somerset Maugham

  • As late as 1783 the buffoonery of this kind of exhibition continued.

    The Standard Oratorios

    George P. Upton

  • O'Mally, for all his buffoonery, was a keen one to read a face.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • One of the eye-witnesses said to us: 'We thought that this was part of the buffoonery.'

  • This is not a criticism of the phallus on grounds of obscenity, but on grounds of buffoonery.


    William Graham Sumner

British Dictionary definitions for buffoonery



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 buffoonery

1620s; see buffoon + -ery.



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