a high headdress with the hair rolled in puffs, worn by women in the late 18th century.
an arrangement of the hair over a pad; puff.
a puff of material as an ornament on a dress or headdress.
Also pouffe. a broad, backless, usually round, cushionlike seat, often large enough for several people.

Origin of pouf

From French, dating back to 1810–20; see origin at puff
Related formspoufed, pouffed, adjectivepouf·y, pouf·fy, adjective


[poo f, poof]

noun British Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pouf

Contemporary Examples of pouf

  • Example: "Standing in one corner…4'9", two inches with the pouf—Snooki Polizzi.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Real Jersey Dictionary, Vol. 2

    Jaimie Etkin

    October 21, 2010

  • The smallest housemate's pouf is about as iconic as her orange skin, though she's decided to retire the former.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Real Jersey Dictionary

    Jaimie Etkin

    August 2, 2010

Historical Examples of pouf

  • She snapped her fingers, and gave the Zerv equivalent of "pouf."

  • Her relatives joined the revolutionists, and pouf,—were blown out.

    Eve to the Rescue

    Ethel Hueston

  • You throw your apron over your head so that you can't see, and pouf!

  • The Emperor has gone to Metzeh piff, pouf, boum, where is your Bismarck then!

  • Wherever she goes she is the cynosure of all eyes, and then—Pouf!

    In Vanity Fair

    Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd

British Dictionary definitions for pouf




a large solid cushion, usually cylindrical or cubic in shape, used as a seat
  1. a woman's hair style, fashionable esp in the 18th century, in which the hair is piled up in rolled puffs
  2. a pad set in the hair to make such puffs
a stuffed pad worn under panniers
(pʊf, puːf) British derogatory, slang less common spellings of poof

Word Origin for pouf

C19: from French; see puff
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 pouf

"style of elaborate female head-dress," 1817 (in reference to styles of c.1780), from French bouffer "to blow out, puff," probably of imitative origin. In dress-making, recorded from 1869; in reference to over-stuffed cushions, 1884. As a verb by 1882 (implied in pouffed).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper