verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

Origin of puff

1175–1225; (v.) Middle English puffen (compare Middle Dutch puffen, Low German pof, puf); (noun) Middle English puf, puffe; of imitative orig.
Related formspuff·ing·ly, adverbun·puffed, adjectiveun·puff·ing, adjective

Synonyms for puff

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

Examples from the Web for puff

Contemporary Examples of puff

Historical Examples of puff

British Dictionary definitions for puff



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 for puff

Old English pyffan; related to Dutch German puffen, Swiss pfuffen, Norwegian puffa, all of imitative 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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper