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duffer

[duhf-er]
See more synonyms for duffer on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. Informal.
    1. a plodding, clumsy, incompetent person.
    2. a person inept or inexperienced at a specific sport, as golf.
  2. Northern and North Midland U.S. an old man, especially a dull or indecisive one.
  3. Slang.
    1. anything inferior, counterfeit, or useless.
    2. a peddler, especially one who sells cheap, flashy goods.
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Origin of duffer

1835–45; perhaps Scots dialect duffar, dowfart “dull, stupid person,” derivative of dowf; def 3 perhaps re-formation with duff3 + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for duffer

clod, donkey, dunce, blunderer, butterfingers, klutz, dolt, bonehead, idiot, butcher, botcher, incompetent, fool, numskull, blockhead, ignoramus, duffer, bumbler, spoiler, foul-up

Examples from the Web for duffer

Historical Examples of duffer

  • Diplomatists never do know anything official, do they, Duffer dear?

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • My dear sir, perhaps you don't know that my nickname since the age of five has been 'Duffer?'

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • But Duffer dear, honestly and truly it isn't for myself I'm afraid.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • What do you think of me, Duffer—and after all the proofs we've just had of the dangerous creature I am?

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Lend a hand, Duffer, and we'll give him to the Nubians the girls have brought.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson


British Dictionary definitions for duffer

duffer

noun
  1. informal a dull or incompetent person
  2. slang something worthless
  3. dialect a peddler or hawker
  4. Australian slang
    1. a mine that proves unproductive
    2. a person who steals cattle
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Word Origin for duffer

C19: of uncertain origin
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 duffer

n.

"inept person; old man," especially "bad golfer," 1842, perhaps from Scottish duffar "dull or stupid person," from dowf "stupid," literally "deaf," from Old Norse daufr, with pejorative suffix -art. Or perhaps from 18c. thieves' slang duff (v.) "to dress or manipulate an old thing and make it look new."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper