- the brand name of various toys modeled especially on sports equipment but made of foam rubber or other soft substances.
- (lowercase) Slang. (in a video game) to reconfigure (an existing character or weapon), making it less powerful: The game development team nerfed several guns in the recent update.
Examples from the Web for nerf
He shot at them with his Nerf Gun, assaulted them with racial epithets, and worst of all, he stole their snacks.Some 4 a.m. Brainstorming on How to Make Obama Tougher Than Putin
May 23, 2014
I notice a yellow Nerf gun–like toy on the couch inside the firehouse.With the Fireman of Brooklyn’s Company 224 as They Observe the Fallen
Maurice Emerson Decaul
September 12, 2013
The shield was covered with horn, sinews or nerf, and skin or rind.Chaucer's Works, Volume 2 (of 7)
Word Origin and History for nerf
1955, in nerf bars, hot-rodder slang for "custom bumpers;" from slang verb in auto racing (1953) meaning "to nudge something with a bumper in passing and knock it off course;" ultimate origin and signification unknown.
As a trademark name for toys made of foam-like material for indoor play, introduced 1970 (Nerf ball). By 1995 this had yielded a verbal sense of "to make less effective" (as a Nerf basketball is softer and lighter than the real thing).