c. 1200, puf, puffe, perhaps from Old English, pyf "short, quick blast of wind; act of puffing," from puff (v.). Meaning "type of light pastry" is recorded from late 14c.; that of "small pad of a downy or flossy texture for applying powder to skin or hair" is from 1650s.
From 1560s in the figurative sense of "empty or vain boast;" the meaning "flattery, inflated praise" is recorded from 1732. Derogatory use for "homosexual male" is recorded by 1902 (compare poof (n.2)).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "foot."
It forms all or part of: antipodes; apodal; Arthropoda; babouche; biped; brachiopod; cap-a-pie; centipede; cephalopod; cheliped; chiropodist; expedite; expedition; foot; foosball; fetch (v.); fetter; fetlock; gastropod; hexapod; impair; impede; impediment; impeach; impeccable; isopod; millipede; octopus; Oedipus; ornithopod; pajamas; pawn (n.2) "lowly chess piece;" peccadillo; peccant; peccavi; pedal; pedestrian; pedicel; pedicle; pedicure; pedigree; pedology; pedometer; peduncle; pejoration; pejorative; peon; pessimism; petiole; pew; Piedmont; piepowder; pilot; pinniped; pioneer; platypus; podiatry; podium; polyp; pseudopod; quadruped; sesquipedalian; stapes; talipes; tetrapod; Theropoda; trapezium; trapezoid; tripod; trivet; vamp (n.1) "upper part of a shoe or boot;" velocipede.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pad-, accusative padam "foot;" Avestan pad-; Greek pos, Attic pous, genitive podos; Latin pes, genitive pedis "foot;" Lithuanian padas "sole," pėda "footstep;" Old English fot, German Fuß, Gothic fotus "foot."
From c. 1400 as "fill, cram full; fill (the belly) with food or drink, gorge;" from early 15c. as "to clog" (the sinuses, etc.); from late 14c. as "fill (a mattress, etc.) with padding, line with padding;" also in the cookery sense, in reference to filing the interior of a pastry or the cavity of a fowl or beast. The ballot-box sense is attested from 1854, American English; in expressions of contempt and suggestive of bodily orifices, it dates from 1952.
1620s, "rice plant," from Malay (Austronesian) padi "rice in the straw." Main modern meaning "rice field, ground where rice is growing" (1948) is a shortening of paddy field.
"to beat with a paddle, spank with the open hand or with some flat object," by 1856, from paddle (n.). Related: Paddled; paddling.
"to fasten by or as if by a padlock," 1640s, from padlock (n.). Related: Padlocked; padlocking.
"an Irishman," 1780, slang, from the pet form of the common Irish proper name Patrick (Irish Padraig). It was in use in African-American vernacular by 1946 for any "white person." Paddy-wagon is attested by 1930, perhaps so called because many police officers were Irish. Paddywhack (1811) originally meant "an Irishman;" with the second element apparently added vaguely for emphasis.
"priest, chaplain," used in reference to priests in Spain, Italy, and Mexico and South America, or the southwest of the U.S., 1580s, from Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese padre, from Latin patrem (nominative pater) "father" (see father (n.)). The title of the regular clergy in those languages. Papar was the name the Norse arriving in Iceland gave to Irish monks whom they found there.