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See also: Duff and DUFF




Etymology 1Edit

Representing a northern pronunciation of dough.


duff (plural duffs)

  1. (dialectal) Dough.
  2. A stiff flour pudding, often with dried fruit, boiled in a cloth bag, or steamed.
    • 1901, Henry Lawson, short story The Ghosts of Many Christmases, published in Children of the Bush [1]:
      The storekeeper had sent them an unbroken case of canned plum pudding, and probably by this time he was wondering what had become of that blanky case of duff.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

Origin uncertain; probably related to Proto-Indo-European *dʰewbʰ- (to whisk, smoke, darken, obscure).


duff (countable and uncountable, plural duffs)

  1. (Scotland, US) Decaying vegetable matter on the forest floor.
    • 1999, George RR Martin, A Clash of Kings, Bantam 2011, p. 366:
      Out under the trees, some rangers had found enough duff and dry wood to start a fire beneath a slanting ridge of slate.
    • 2006, Kathy Morey, ‎Mike White, ‎Stacey Corless, Sierra South: Backcountry Trips in Californias Sierra Nevada (page 250)
      The underfooting is mostly duff and sand, through alternating forest and meadow.
  2. Coal dust.
  3. (slang) The bits left in the bottom of the bag after the booty has been consumed, like crumbs.
  4. Something spurious or fake; a counterfeit, a worthless thing.
  5. (baseball, slang, 1800s) An error.


duff (comparative duffer, superlative duffest)

  1. (Britain) Worthless; not working properly, defective.
    Why do I always get a shopping trolley with duff wheels?
    • 1996, Catherine Merriman, State of Desire[2], page 155:
      From its surface, he insisted, plain food became ambrosia, water nectar, and the duffest dope would blow your mind.
    • 2008 May 18, R J Smith, “Death Cab Is Up for the Long Haul”, in New York Times[3]:
      The band developed its sound, shamblingly at first, on the road, in an era before thousands of blog or YouTube users could form an opinion of a band based on some MySpace demos and a duff early gig in Tacoma.
    • 2009, Christopher Fowler, Paperboy[4], page 225:
      All the other parts were played by a gallery of Dickensian character actors, including Thorley Walters, Francis Matthews and, yes, Michael Ripper, who lent gravitas to the duffest dialogue lines.
  • (defective): bum (US)

Etymology 3Edit

Origin uncertain; perhaps the same as Etymology 1, above.


duff (plural duffs)

  1. (US, slang) The buttocks.

Etymology 4Edit

Originally thieves' slang; probably a back-formation from duffer.


duff (third-person singular simple present duffs, present participle duffing, simple past and past participle duffed)

  1. (slang, obsolete) To disguise something to make it look new.
  2. (Australia) To alter the branding of stolen cattle; to steal cattle.
  3. (Britain, slang, with "up") To beat up.
    I heard Nick got duffed up behind the shopping centre at the weekend.
  4. (US, golf) To hit the ground behind the ball.
Related termsEdit

Etymology 5Edit


duff (plural duffs)

  1. Alternative form of daf (type of drum)

See alsoEdit