• synonyms


  1. the act or process of making tufts.
  2. tufts collectively, especially as decoration.
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Origin of tufting

First recorded in 1545–55; tuft + -ing1


  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.
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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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to form into or grow in a tuft or tufts.
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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

Examples from the Web for tufting

Historical Examples

  • As with silks, brocaded in different colours, therefore never use chintz where a chair or sofa calls for tufting.

    The Art of Interior Decoration

    Grace Wood

British Dictionary definitions for tufting


  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
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  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
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Derived Formstufter, nountufty, adjective

Word Origin

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 tufting



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)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper