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Nerf

[nurf]
Trademark.
  1. the brand name of various toys modeled especially on sports equipment but made of foam rubber or other soft substances.
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verb (used with object)
  1. (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.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper