• synonyms


See more synonyms for tuft on Thesaurus.com
  1. a bunch or cluster of small, usually soft and flexible parts, as feathers or hairs, attached or fixed closely together at the base and loose at the upper ends.
  2. a cluster of short, fluffy threads, used to decorate cloth, as for a bedspread, robe, bath mat, or window curtain.
  3. a cluster of cut threads, used as a decorative finish attached to the tying or holding threads of mattresses, quilts, upholstery, etc.
  4. a covered or finished button designed for similar use.
  5. a cluster of short-stalked flowers, leaves, etc., growing from a common point.
  6. a small clump of bushes, trees, etc.
  7. a gold tassel on the cap formerly worn at English universities by titled undergraduates.
  8. a titled undergraduateat an English university.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to furnish or decorate with a tuft or tufts.
  2. to arrange in a tuft or tufts.
  3. Upholstery. to draw together (a cushion or the like) by passing a thread through at regular intervals, the depressions thus produced being usually ornamented with tufts or buttons.
Show More
verb (used without object)
  1. to form into or grow in a tuft or tufts.
Show More

Origin of tuft

1350–1400; Middle English, variant of toft(e) < Middle French tofe, toffe < ?; E parasitic t as in graft1
Related formstuft·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for tuft

group, shock, collection, cluster, knot, bunch, cowlick, topknot, feathers, ruff, plumage, tussock

Examples from the Web for tuft

Historical Examples of tuft

  • When he looked up, the pony was stolidly cropping a tuft of grass.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • Upon his brow he placed a tuft of feathers of the same shining tints.

    The Indian Fairy Book

    Cornelius Mathews

  • I wiped it with a tuft of bracken, and I laughed with something of a bitterness.

  • A tuft of hair protruded from a hole in the crown of his hat.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx

  • She was fixing a tuft of flowers in his cap, singing softly as she did so.

    Sir Ludar

    Talbot Baines Reed

British Dictionary definitions for tuft


  1. a bunch of feathers, grass, hair, etc, held together at the base
  2. a cluster of threads drawn tightly through upholstery, a mattress, a quilt, etc, to secure and strengthen the padding
  3. a small clump of trees or bushes
  4. (formerly) a gold tassel on the cap worn by titled undergraduates at English universities
  5. a person entitled to wear such a tassel
Show More
  1. (tr) to provide or decorate with a tuft or tufts
  2. to form or be formed into tufts
  3. to secure and strengthen (a mattress, quilt, etc) with tufts
Show More
Derived Formstufter, nountufty, adjective

Word Origin for tuft

C14: perhaps from Old French tufe, of Germanic origin; compare top 1
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 tuft


late 14c., perhaps from Old French touffe "tuft of hair," either from Late Latin tufa "a kind of crest on a helmet" (also found in Late Greek toupha), or from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German zopf, Old Norse toppr "tuft, summit;" see top (n.1)).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper