c. 1200, perhaps Old English, puf, puffe "short, quick blast; act of puffing," from puff (v.). Meaning "type of light pastry" is recorded from late 14c.; that of "small pad for applying powder to skin or hair" is from 1650s. Figurative sense of "flattery, inflated praise" is first recorded 1732. Derogatory use for "homosexual male" is recorded by 1902.
Old English pyffan "to blow with the mouth," of imitative origin. Meaning "pant, breathe hard and fast" is from late 14c. Used of small swellings and round protuberances since 1530s. Transitive figurative sense of "exalt" is from 1530s; shading by early 18c. into meaning "praise with self-interest." Related: Puffed; puffing.
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