See more synonyms for puff on Thesaurus.com
  1. a short, quick blast, as of wind or breath.
  2. an abrupt emission of air, smoke, vapor, etc.
  3. an act of inhaling and exhaling, as on a cigarette or pipe; whiff.
  4. the sound of an abrupt emission of air, vapor, etc.
  5. a small quantity of vapor, smoke, etc., emitted at one blast.
  6. an inflated or distended part of a thing; swelling; protuberance.
  7. a form of light pastry with a filling of cream, jam, or the like.
  8. a portion of material gathered and held down at the edges but left full in the middle, as on a sleeve.
  9. a cylindrical roll of hair.
  10. a quilted bed covering, usually filled with down.
  11. a commendation, especially an exaggerated one, of a book, an actor's performance, etc.
  12. powder puff.
  13. a ball or pad of soft material.
  14. puffball.
  15. Chiefly British Slang. a male homosexual.
verb (used without object)
  1. to blow with short, quick blasts, as the wind.
  2. to be emitted in a puff.
  3. to emit a puff or puffs; breathe quick and hard, as after violent exertion.
  4. to go with puffing or panting.
  5. to emit puffs or whiffs of vapor or smoke.
  6. to move with such puffs: The locomotive puffed into the station.
  7. to take puffs at a cigar, cigarette, etc.
  8. to become inflated, distended, or swollen (usually followed by up).
  9. (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.
verb (used with object)
  1. to send forth (air, vapor, etc.) in short, quick blasts.
  2. to drive or impel by puffing, or with a short, quick blast.
  3. to extinguish by means of a puff (usually followed by out): to puff a match out.
  4. to smoke (a cigar, cigarette, etc.).
  5. to inflate, distend, or swell, especially with air.
  6. to make fluffy; fluff (often followed by up): to puff up a pillow.
  7. to inflate with pride, vanity, etc. (often followed by up): Their applause puffed him up.
  8. to praise unduly or with exaggeration.
  9. to apply powder to (the cheeks, neck, etc.) with a powder puff.
  10. to apply (powder) with a powder puff.
  11. to arrange in puffs, as the hair.

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

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for puffed

distended, bloated, inflated, swollen

Examples from the Web for puffed

Contemporary Examples of puffed

Historical Examples of puffed

  • Winkleman puffed out his chest and protruded his great beard.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • He will not be puffed up by success, or unduly depressed by failure.


    Samuel Smiles

  • He lay back in the chair and puffed smoke above his head for a while.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The other men eyed him with a brooding jealousy as they puffed on their pipes.


    Emile Zola

  • Anyone else would have died of it; he merely strutted about and puffed out his chest.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for puffed


  1. a short quick draught, gust, or emission, as of wind, smoke, air, etc, esp a forceful one
  2. the amount of wind, smoke, etc, released in a puff
  3. the sound made by or associated with a puff
  4. an instance of inhaling and expelling the breath as in smoking
  5. a swelling
  6. a light aerated pastry usually filled with cream, jam, etc
  7. a powder puff
  8. exaggerated praise, as of a book, product, etc, esp through an advertisement
  9. a piece of clothing fabric gathered up so as to bulge in the centre while being held together at the edges
  10. a loose piece of hair wound into a cylindrical roll, usually over a pad, and pinned in place in a coiffure
  11. a less common word for quilt (def. 1)
  12. one's breath (esp in the phrase out of puff)
  13. derogatory, slang a male homosexual
  14. a dialect word for puffball
  1. to blow or breathe or cause to blow or breathe in short quick draughts or blasts
  2. (tr; often foll by out; usually passive) to cause to be out of breath
  3. to take puffs or draws at (a cigarette, cigar, or pipe)
  4. to move with or by the emission of puffsthe steam train puffed up the incline
  5. (often foll by up, out, etc) to swell, as with air, pride, etc
  6. (tr) to praise with exaggerated empty words, often in advertising
  7. (tr) to apply (cosmetic powder) from a powder puff to (the face)
  8. 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 puffed



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