See also: Buff and BUFF
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  • IPA(key): /bʌf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌf

Etymology 1Edit

From buffe (leather), from Middle French buffle (buffalo).


buff (countable and uncountable, plural buffs)

  1. Undyed leather from the skin of buffalo or similar animals.
  2. A tool, often one covered with buff leather, used for polishing.
  3. A brownish yellow colour.
  4. A military coat made of buff leather.
    • c. 1594, William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors, [Act IV, scene ii]:
      A diuell in an euerlaſting garment hath him ; / On whoſe hard heart is button’d vp with ſteele : / A Feind, a Fairie, pittileſſe and ruffe : / A Wolfe, nay worſe, a fellow all in buffe []
  5. (informal) A person who is very interested in a particular subject; an enthusiast.
    He’s a real history buff. He knows everything there is to know about the civil war.
  6. (video games, role-playing games) An effect that makes a character or item stronger.
    I just picked up an epic damage buff! Let's go gank the other team!
  7. (rail transport) Compressive coupler force that occurs during a slack bunched condition.
  8. (colloquial) The bare skin.
    to strip to the buff
    • 1880, Wright, Thomas, “buff”, in Dictionary of obsolete and provincial English, containing words from the English writers previous to the nineteenth century which are no longer in use, or are not used in the same sense. And words which are now used only in the provincial dialects[4], volume 1, London: George Bell and Sons, page 265:
      To be in buff, is equivalent to being naked.
    • 2021 October 18, Lecklitzner, Ian, “The Inevitable Rise of the Work-From-Home Nudist”, in MEL Magazine[5]:
      Not to mention, nudity can be just plain convenient. “Laundry is minimal,” Schulte notes. It also doesn’t hurt that being in the buff spices up his workday.
  9. The greyish viscid substance constituting the buffy coat.
  10. A substance used to dilute (street) drugs in order to increase profits.
    • 2014, “Aldergrove’s 856 gang busted, $400,000 in drugs seized,” CBC News, 30 July, 2014,[6]
      Police say this 20 ton hydraulic jack was used to press mixtures of cocaine and “buff” into brick.
Derived termsEdit


buff (comparative buffer or more buff, superlative buffest or most buff)

  1. Of the color of buff leather, a brownish yellow.
  2. (bodybuilding) Unusually muscular. (also buffed or buffed out)
    The bouncer was a big, buff dude with tattoos, a shaved head, and a serious scowl.
    • 1994, Blurred Boundaries: Questions of Meaning in Contemporary Culture, page 155:
      The appearance of logic often derives from faulty syllogisms such as Sgt. Koon's conclusion that King was an ex-con because he was "buffed out" (heavily muscled). The thinking is: "ex-cons are often buffed out; this man is buffed out; therefore, this man is an ex-con."
  3. (slang) Physically attractive.
Derived termsEdit


buff (third-person singular simple present buffs, present participle buffing, simple past and past participle buffed)

  1. To polish and make shiny by rubbing.
    He was already buffing the car's hubs.
  2. (video games, role-playing games) To make a character or an item stronger.
    The enchanter buffed the paladin to prepare him to fight the dragon.
    I noticed that the pistols were buffed in the update.
  3. (medical slang) To modify a medical chart, especially in a dishonest manner.
    • 1996, Jeffrey E. Nash and James M. Calonico, The Meaning of Social Interaction: An Introduction to Social Psychology[7], page 139:
      "Sure thing, I buffed her, and they turfed her to urology, but she bounced back to me!" [...] They attempted to transfer her to urology by modifying her chart (buffing it) to request urine tests, but the doctors in urology sent (bounced) her back.
    • 2004, Gregory Davis, Pathology and Law[8], page 121:
      The implication of such an action is an invitation to buff the chart. The medical records department could have prevented the falsification by sending a copy of the chart to the attorney at the same time that they notified the hospital physician of the attorney's request for the chart.
Derived termsEdit



See alsoEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Old French bufer (to cuff, buffet). See buffet (a blow).


buff (third-person singular simple present buffs, present participle buffing, simple past and past participle buffed)

  1. To strike.
    • a. 1640, Ben Jonson, The Under-wood[9], page 277:
      Bravely run Red-hood, / There was a shock, / To have buff’d out the blood / From ought but a block.


buff (plural buffs)

  1. (obsolete) A buffet; a blow.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 3Edit

Clipping of buffalo.


buff (countable and uncountable, plural buffs)

  1. (informal) A buffalo, or the meat of a buffalo.
    • 2006, Bradley Mayhew, Joe Bindloss, Stan Armington, Nepal
      [] diced buff (buffalo) meat, usually heavily spiced []
    • 1992, Marilyn Stablein, The Census Taker: Stories of a Traveler in India and Nepal, page 62:
      You will eat water buffalo meat and drink boiled water buffalo milk: buff burgers at Aunt Jane's restaurant, buff mo-mos which are the Tibetan won-tons, and buff steaks at The Globe.