the act of a person or thing that stuffs.
a material or substance used to stuff something.
seasoned bread crumbs or other filling used to stuff a chicken, turkey, etc., before cooking.
Informal. internal parts; insides: to beat the stuffing out of an opponent.

Origin of stuffing

First recorded in 1520–30; stuff + -ing1
Related formsun·der·stuff·ing, noun




the material of which anything is made: a hard, crystalline stuff.
material to be worked upon or to be used in making something: wood, steel, and other stuff for building.
material of some unspecified kind: a cushion filled with some soft stuff.
Chiefly British. woven material or fabric, especially wool.
property, as personal belongings or equipment; things.
something to be swallowed, as food, drink, or medicine.
inward character, qualities, or capabilities: to have good stuff in one.
Informal. action or talk of a particular kind: kid stuff; Cut out the rough stuff.
worthless things or matter: to clean the stuff out of a closet.
worthless or foolish ideas, talk, or writing: a lot of stuff and nonsense.
  1. Baseball.the assortment of pitches that a pitcher uses in a game together with the ability to deliver them in the proper manner at the right speed to the desired spot: He saved his best stuff for the tougher hitters in the lineup.
  2. spin or speed imparted to a ball, as by a baseball pitcher, a bowler, or a tennis player: a pitch with plenty of stuff.
Informal. journalistic, literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, or other compositions or performances: Bach composed some splendid stuff.
Informal. one's trade, skill, field, facts, etc.: She knows her stuff.
Slang. any kind of drug, especially an illicit one.
Also called stock. Papermaking. refined and beaten wet pulp ready for spreading on the wire.

verb (used with object)

to fill (a receptacle), especially by packing the contents closely together; cram full.
to fill (an aperture, cavity, etc.) by forcing something into it.
to fill or line with some kind of material as a padding or packing.
to fill or cram (oneself, one's stomach, etc.) with food.
to fill (meat, vegetables, etc.) with seasoned bread crumbs or other savory matter.
to fill the preserved skin of (a dead animal) with material, retaining its natural form and appearance for display.
to put fraudulent votes into (a ballot box).
to thrust or cram (something) into a receptacle, cavity, or the like.
to pack tightly in a confined place; crowd together.
to crowd (a vehicle, room, etc.) with persons.
to clutter or fill (the mind) with facts, details, etc.
(in leather manufacturing) to treat (a skin, hide, etc.) with a composition of tallow and other ingredients.
to stop up or plug; block or choke (usually followed by up).

verb (used without object)

to cram oneself with food; eat gluttonously; gorge.

Origin of stuff

1300–50; (v.) late Middle English stuffen to equip, furnish < Old French estoffer literally, to stuff < Frankish *stopfōn, *stoppōn (see stop); (noun) Middle English < Old French estoffe, derivative of the v.
Related formsstuff·less, adjectivere·stuff, verb (used with object)un·der·stuff, verb (used with object)un·stuff, verb (used with object)un·stuffed, adjectivewell-stuffed, adjective

Synonym study

1–3. See matter. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for stuffing

British Dictionary definitions for stuffing



the material with which something is stuffed
a mixture of chopped and seasoned ingredients with which poultry, meat, etc, is stuffed before cooking
knock the stuffing out of someone to upset or dishearten someone completely


verb (mainly tr)

to pack or fill completely; cram
(intr) to eat large quantities
to force, shove, or squeezeto stuff money into a pocket
to fill (food such as poultry or tomatoes) with a stuffing
to fill (an animal's skin) with material so as to restore the shape of the live animal
slang to have sexual intercourse with (a woman)
tanning to treat (an animal skin or hide) with grease
US and Canadian to fill (a ballot box) with a large number of fraudulent votes
(in marine transport) to pack (a container)See also stuffing and stripping
slang to ruin, frustrate, or defeat


the raw material or fabric of something
woollen cloth or fabric
any general or unspecified substance or accumulation of objects
stupid or worthless actions, speech, ideas, etc
subject matter, skill, etche knows his stuff
a slang word for money
slang a drug, esp cannabis
British slang a girl or woman considered sexually (esp in the phrase bit of stuff)
do one's stuff informal to do what is expected of one
that's the stuff that is what is needed
Derived Formsstuffer, noun

Word Origin for stuff

C14: from Old French estoffe, from estoffer to furnish, provide, of Germanic origin; related to Middle High German stopfen to cram full


Sense 6 of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary . However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use
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 stuffing



early 14c., "quilted material worn under chain mail," from Old French estoffe "quilted material, furniture, provisions" (Modern French étoffe), from estoffer "to equip or stock," which according to French sources is from Old High German stopfon "to plug, stuff," or from a related Frankish word (see stop), but OED has "strong objections" to this. Sense extended to material for working with in various trades (c.1400), then (1570s) "matter of an unspecified kind." Meaning "narcotic, dope, drug" is attested from 1929. To know (one's) stuff "have a grasp on a subject" is recorded from 1927.



mid-15c., "to cram full," from stuff (n.); earlier "to furnish a fort or army with men and stores" (c.1300). The ballot-box sense is attested from 1854, American English; in expressions of contempt and suggestive of bodily orifices, it dates from 1952. Stuffing "seasoned mixture used to stuff fowls before cooking" is from 1530s. Stuffed in reference to garments, "padded with stuffing" is from mid-15c.; hence stuffed shirt "pompous, ineffectual person" (1913).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stuffing


In addition to the idioms beginning with stuff

  • stuff and nonsense
  • stuffed shirt
  • stuff it
  • stuff one's face
  • stuff the ballot box

also see:

  • get stuffed
  • hot number (stuff)
  • kid stuff
  • know one's stuff
  • strut one's stuff
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.