- a short, quick blast, as of wind or breath.
- an abrupt emission of air, smoke, vapor, etc.
- an act of inhaling and exhaling, as on a cigarette or pipe; whiff.
- the sound of an abrupt emission of air, vapor, etc.
- a small quantity of vapor, smoke, etc., emitted at one blast.
- an inflated or distended part of a thing; swelling; protuberance.
- a form of light pastry with a filling of cream, jam, or the like.
- a portion of material gathered and held down at the edges but left full in the middle, as on a sleeve.
- a cylindrical roll of hair.
- a quilted bed covering, usually filled with down.
- a commendation, especially an exaggerated one, of a book, an actor's performance, etc.
- powder puff.
- a ball or pad of soft material.
- Chiefly British Slang. a male homosexual.
- to blow with short, quick blasts, as the wind.
- to be emitted in a puff.
- to emit a puff or puffs; breathe quick and hard, as after violent exertion.
- to go with puffing or panting.
- to emit puffs or whiffs of vapor or smoke.
- to move with such puffs: The locomotive puffed into the station.
- to take puffs at a cigar, cigarette, etc.
- to become inflated, distended, or swollen (usually followed by up).
- (especially of an auctioneer's accomplice) to bid on an item at an auction solely to increase the price that the final bidder must pay.
- to send forth (air, vapor, etc.) in short, quick blasts.
- to drive or impel by puffing, or with a short, quick blast.
- to extinguish by means of a puff (usually followed by out): to puff a match out.
- to smoke (a cigar, cigarette, etc.).
- to inflate, distend, or swell, especially with air.
- to make fluffy; fluff (often followed by up): to puff up a pillow.
- to inflate with pride, vanity, etc. (often followed by up): Their applause puffed him up.
- to praise unduly or with exaggeration.
- to apply powder to (the cheeks, neck, etc.) with a powder puff.
- to apply (powder) with a powder puff.
- to arrange in puffs, as the hair.
Origin of puff
SynonymsSee more synonyms for puff on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for puff
And even ordinary exercisers may subject themselves to dirty looks if they puff near their gym.E-Cigarettes: The Side Effects Nobody Talks About
September 25, 2014
So we salute you, Mr. Fielder, even as we continue to huff and puff at the gym in pursuit of those rippling ridges.Prince Fielder’s Demi Moore Moment: World Loses It Over Athlete Without Six-Pack
July 10, 2014
In his new video for “I Want the Love,” Puff Daddy sits tight on what appears to be a pretty good replica of the iron throne.Stars, They’re Obsessed with ‘Game of Thrones’ Just Like Us!
June 16, 2014
“I would disappear in a puff of smoke and then reappear,” a former Dorothy recalled during her return to the Land of Oz.Follow the Yellow Brick Road…to North Carolina
February 12, 2014
Puff for puff, no one is calling e-cigarettes worse than normal cigarettes.E-Cigarettes, Facing Ban, Still Figuring Out What They Want to Be
December 19, 2013
He leaned back, and began to puff leisurely at his pipe, as if this settled the matter.Brave and Bold
And now they all vanish in a puff of smoke from the chimney.Old Ticonderoga, A Picture of The Past
(a) What precautions should be taken in the making of a puff omelet?Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 2
Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
How good that puff of fresh air and freedom felt on his face!The Rock of Chickamauga
Joseph A. Altsheler
And so, with a snort and a puff, he worked out by another door.Little Dorrit
- a short quick draught, gust, or emission, as of wind, smoke, air, etc, esp a forceful one
- the amount of wind, smoke, etc, released in a puff
- the sound made by or associated with a puff
- an instance of inhaling and expelling the breath as in smoking
- a swelling
- a light aerated pastry usually filled with cream, jam, etc
- a powder puff
- exaggerated praise, as of a book, product, etc, esp through an advertisement
- a piece of clothing fabric gathered up so as to bulge in the centre while being held together at the edges
- a loose piece of hair wound into a cylindrical roll, usually over a pad, and pinned in place in a coiffure
- a less common word for quilt (def. 1)
- one's breath (esp in the phrase out of puff)
- derogatory, slang a male homosexual
- a dialect word for puffball
- to blow or breathe or cause to blow or breathe in short quick draughts or blasts
- (tr; often foll by out; usually passive) to cause to be out of breath
- to take puffs or draws at (a cigarette, cigar, or pipe)
- to move with or by the emission of puffsthe steam train puffed up the incline
- (often foll by up, out, etc) to swell, as with air, pride, etc
- (tr) to praise with exaggerated empty words, often in advertising
- (tr) to apply (cosmetic powder) from a powder puff to (the face)
- to increase the price of (a lot in an auction) artificially by having an accomplice make false bids
Word Origin and History for puff
c.1200, perhaps Old English, puf, puffe "short, quick blast; act of puffing," from puff (v.). Meaning "type of light pastry" is recorded from late 14c.; that of "small pad for applying powder to skin or hair" is from 1650s. Figurative sense of "flattery, inflated praise" is first recorded 1732. Derogatory use for "homosexual male" is recorded by 1902.
Old English pyffan "to blow with the mouth," of imitative origin. Meaning "pant, breathe hard and fast" is from late 14c. Used of small swellings and round protuberances since 1530s. Transitive figurative sense of "exalt" is from 1530s; shading by early 18c. into meaning "praise with self-interest." Related: Puffed; puffing.