See also: Stuff


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From Middle English stuffen (to equip, furnish), from Old French estoffer ("to provide what is necessary, equip, stuff"; > French étoffer and étouffer), from Frankish *stopfōn, *stoppōn (to cram, plug, stuff), from Proto-Germanic *stuppōną (to clog up, block, fill). Cognate with Old High German stoffōn, stopfōn (to plug, stuff), Old English stoppian (to stop up, close) and Albanian shtyp (to press, squeeze, stuff). Compare Dutch stof, and German Stoff. More at stop.


  • IPA(key): /stʌf/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌf


stuff (usually uncountable, plural stuffs)

  1. (informal) Miscellaneous items or objects; (with possessive) personal effects.
    What is all that stuff on your bedroom floor?  He didn't want his pockets to bulge so he was walking around with all his stuff in his hands.
  2. (informal) Unspecified things or matters.
    I had to do some stuff.
  3. The tangible substance that goes into the makeup of a physical object.
    Synonyms: matter; see also Thesaurus:substance
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir John Davies (poet) and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      The workman on his stuff his skill doth show, / And yet the stuff gives not the man his skill.
    • 2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).
  4. (archaic) A material for making clothing; any woven textile, but especially a woollen fabric.
    • 1857, The National Magazine (volumes 10-11, page 350)
      "And you can buy a dress for your wife off this piece of stuff," said Lisetta, who had always an eye to business.
    • 1992, Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety, Harper Perennial 2007, p.147:
      She was going out to buy some lengths of good woollen stuff for Louise's winter dresses.
  5. (archaic) Boards used for building.
  6. Abstract substance or character.
  7. (informal) Used as placeholder, usually for material of unknown type or name.
    Synonyms: doodad, thingamabob; see also Thesaurus:thingy
    Can I have some of that stuff on my ice-cream sundae?
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 3, in Death on the Centre Court:
      It had been his intention to go to Wimbledon, but as he himself said: “Why be blooming well frizzled when you can hear all the results over the wireless. [] You stand by, Janet, and wake me up if they do any of that running commentary stuff.”
  8. (slang) Narcotic drugs, especially heroin.
    Synonyms: dope, gear; see also Thesaurus:recreational drug
    • 1947, William Burroughs, letter, 11 March:
      For some idiotic reason the bureaucrats are more opposed to tea than to stuff.
    • 1975, Mary Sanches, ‎Ben G. Blount, Sociocultural Dimensions of Language Use (page 47)
      For example, one addict would crack shorts (break and enter cars) and usually obtain just enough stolen goods to buy stuff and get off just before getting sick.
  9. (obsolete, uncountable) Furniture; goods; domestic vessels or utensils.
    • 1611, 1 Samuel 25:13, KJV:
      and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff.
    • (Can we date this quote by Sir John Hayward (historian) and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      He took away locks, and gave away the king's stuff.
  10. (obsolete) A medicine or mixture; a potion.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
  11. (obsolete) Refuse or worthless matter; hence, also, foolish or irrational language; nonsense; trash.
    Synonyms: garbage, rubbish; see also Thesaurus:trash
  12. (nautical) A melted mass of turpentine, tallow, etc., with which the masts, sides, and bottom of a ship are smeared for lubrication.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ham. Nav. Encyc to this entry?)
  13. Paper stock ground ready for use. When partly ground, it is called half stuff.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  14. (slang, dated) Money.

Usage notesEdit

  • The textile sense is increasingly specialized and sounds dated in everyday contexts. In the UK & Commonwealth it designates the cloth from which legal and academic gowns are made, except for the gowns of Queen's/King's/State Counsel, which are (often in contradistinction) made of silk.

Derived termsEdit

Terms derived from stuff (noun)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


stuff (third-person singular simple present stuffs, present participle stuffing, simple past and past participle stuffed)

  1. (transitive) To fill by packing or crowding something into; to cram with something; to load to excess.
    I'm going to stuff this pillow with feathers.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Lest the gods, for sin, / Should with a swelling dropsy stuff thy skin.
  2. (transitive) To fill a space with (something) in a compressed manner.
    He stuffed his clothes into the closet and shut the door.
    • 1626, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum, Or, A Naturall Historie: In Ten Centuries
      Put them [roses] into a{{..}} glass, with narrow mouths, stuffing them close together [] and [they] retain [] smell [] [and] colour.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn’t know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles.
    • 2004, Orson Scott Card, The Crystal City: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Book Six, Tom Doherty Associates, →ISBN, page 241:
    • 2007, Iceland Review, H.J. Hamar, page 227:
      You can't just stuff it in a vault somewhere and cross your fingers.
    • 2011, Shirley G. East, The Dream Hunters Epoch: The Paleo Indians Series, Xlibris Corporation, →ISBN, page 528:
      “I will sort this stuff out and repack it.” “No time! Just stuff it inside baskets and shove them to the back. We can sort through it all later.”
  3. (Should we delete(+) this redundant sense?) (transitive, cooking) To fill with seasoning.
    She stuffed the turkey for Thanksgiving using her secret recipe.
  4. (transitive) To load goods into (a container) for transport.
  5. (transitive, used in the passive) To sate.
    I’m stuffed after having eaten all that turkey, mashed potatoes and delicious stuffing.
  6. (takes a reflexive pronoun) To eat, especially in a hearty or greedy manner.
    Synonyms: fill one's face, feed one's face, stuff one's face
    She sits on the sofa all day, watching TV and stuffing herself with cream buns.
  7. (transitive, Britain, Australia, New Zealand) To break; to destroy.
    He skidded off the road and totally stuffed his brand new car.
  8. (transitive, vulgar, Britain, Australia, New Zealand) To sexually penetrate.
    Synonyms: fuck, root, screw
    His wife came home early and found him on the couch stuffing the maid.
  9. (transitive, mildly vulgar, often imperative) Used to contemptuously dismiss or reject something. See also stuff it.
    Stuff your stupid rules, I'll do what I like.
    • 2010, Christie Ridgway, Right by Her Side, Silhouette, →ISBN, page 115:
      My other sister is insisting on hosting a reception for us, and when I told her where she could stuff her ideas for a cake, she cried.
  10. (informal) To heavily defeat or get the better of.
    Mudchester Rovers were stuffed 7-0 in the semi-final.
    They totally stuffed us in that business deal.
  11. (transitive) To cut off another competitor in a race by disturbing his projected and committed racing line (trajectory) by an abrupt manoeuvre.
    I got stuffed by that guy on the supermoto going into that turn, almost causing us to crash.
  12. To preserve a dead bird or other animal by filling its skin.
  13. (transitive) To obstruct, as any of the organs; to affect with some obstruction in the organs of sense or respiration.
  14. (Should we delete(+) this redundant sense?) (transitive) To form or fashion by packing with the necessary material.
    • 1724, Jonathan Swift, Drapier's Letters, 5
      An Eastern king put a judge to death for an iniquitous sentence, and ordered his hide to be stuffed into a cushion, and placed upon the tribunal.
  15. (transitive, dated) To crowd with facts; to cram the mind of; sometimes, to crowd or fill with false or idle tales or fancies.
  16. (transitive, computing) To compress (a file or files) in the StuffIt format, to be unstuffed later.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • stuff at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • stuff in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.