Etymology 1

An onomatopoeia. Similar to Dutch oef and German uff. The verb sense is from a sound effect used in point-of-view video games when a character dies.



  1. (onomatopoeia) A sound mimicking the loss of air, as if someone's solar plexus had just been struck.
    • 1989 June 5, The Canberra Times, page 10, column 2:
      Whap, Biff, Ooooof, Sock, Pow, Zok! Batman is back. Gotham City is again leaving its law and order in the hands of a man who wears plastic underpants over his tights.
  2. (slang) Synonym of ouch (expressing sympathy at another's pain, shock at a high price, etc.)


oof (plural oofs)

  1. A sound made in pain, as when expelling air after being struck.
    • 1966, James Workman, The Mad Emperor, Melbourne, Sydney: Scripts, page 33:
      The soldier on the ground clutched his head and then his stomach and gave an "oof" of pain.


oof (third-person singular simple present oofs, present participle oofing, simple past and past participle oofed)

  1. (video games, ergative) to kill.

Etymology 2

Clipping of ooftish


oof (uncountable)

  1. (Britain, slang, dated) Money. [c. 1850 – c. 1940]
    • 1888, H. Rider Haggard, Colonel Quaritch V.C. (archive.org ebook), page 232:
      “Oh,” Johnnie was saying, “so Quest is his name, is it, and he lives in a city called Boisingham, does he? Is he an oof bird?” (rich)
      “Rather,” answered the Tiger, “if only one can make the dollars run, but he's a nasty mean boy, he is.
    • 1900, Harry B. Norris, Burlington Bertie (song)
      Burlington Bertie's the latest young jay
      He rents a swell flat somewhere Kensington way
      He spends the good oof that his pater has made
      Along with the Brandy and Soda Brigade.
    • 1911–1912, published 1916, Gilbert Parker, The World For Sale, book 2, chapter 10 (Gutenberg ebook, archive.org ebook):
      What's he after? Oof—oof—oof, that's what he's after. He's for his own pocket, he's for being boss of all the woolly West. He's after keeping us poor and making himself rich.
    • 1991 May 12, "Kidnapped!" Jeeves and Wooster, Series 2, Episode 5:
      Chuffy: It's on a knife edge at the moment, Bertie. If he can get planning permission, old Stoker's going to take this heap off my hands in return for vast amounts of oof.
Derived terms