• synonyms


  1. a thick, tubular case for the hands, covered with fur or other material, used by women and girls for warmth and as a handbag.
  2. a bungled or clumsy action or performance.
  3. Sports. a failure to hold onto a ball that may reasonably be expected to be caught successfully.
  4. a tuft of feathers on the sides of the head of certain fowls.
  5. Slang: Vulgar. a woman's pubic area.
  6. See under muff glass.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Informal. to bungle; handle clumsily: He muffed a good opportunity.
  2. Sports. to fail to hold onto (a ball that may reasonably be expected to be caught successfully); fumble.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Informal. to bungle; perform clumsily.
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Origin of muff

1590–1600; < Dutch mof, earlier moffel, muffel mitten, muff < Old North French moufle < early Medieval Latin muffula, perhaps < Frankish
Related formsmuff·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for muffed

flub, fumble, mishandle, botch, err, miscalculate, choke, blunder, mismanage, slip, boggle

Examples from the Web for muffed

Historical Examples of muffed

  • Next he muffed the drill with a wad of felt and applied it to the safe door.

    The Silent Bullet

    Arthur B. Reeve

  • Game and Tipper muffed the jump, and it was left to the other three.

    The Willoughby Captains

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • He muffed his first jump, and we all thought the game was up.

    The Master of the Shell

    Talbot Baines Reed

  • Oswald does not like giving up a thing just because it has once been muffed.

    New Treasure Seekers

    E. (Edith) Nesbit

  • Hatted, furred, and muffed, she leaned on her fathers shoulder.

British Dictionary definitions for muffed


  1. an open-ended cylinder of fur or cloth into which the hands are placed for warmth
  2. the tuft on either side of the head of certain fowls
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Word Origin for muff

C16: probably from Dutch mof, ultimately from French mouffle muffle 1


  1. to perform (an action) awkwardly
  2. (tr) to bungle (a shot, catch, etc) in a game
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  1. any unskilful play in a game, esp a dropped catch
  2. any clumsy or bungled action
  3. a bungler
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Word Origin for muff

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 muffed



"warm covering for the hands," 1590s, from Dutch mof "a muff," shortened from Middle Dutch moffel "mitten, muff," from Middle French moufle "mitten," from Old French mofle "thick glove, large mitten, handcuffs" (9c.), from Medieval Latin muffula "a muff," of unknown origin. In 17c.-18c. also worn by men. Meaning "vulva and pubic hair" is from 1690s; muff-diver "one who performs cunnilingus" is from 1935.

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"to bungle," 1827, pugilism slang, probably related to muff (n.) "awkward person" (1837), perhaps from muff (n.) on notion of someone clumsy because his hands are in a muff. Related: Muffed; muffing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper