verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to form into or grow in a tuft or tufts.

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. 2019

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



a bunch of feathers, grass, hair, etc, held together at the base
a cluster of threads drawn tightly through upholstery, a mattress, a quilt, etc, to secure and strengthen the padding
a small clump of trees or bushes
(formerly) a gold tassel on the cap worn by titled undergraduates at English universities
a person entitled to wear such a tassel


(tr) to provide or decorate with a tuft or tufts
to form or be formed into tufts
to secure and strengthen (a mattress, quilt, etc) with tufts
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)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper