puff (n.)

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)).

puff (v.)

Old English pyffan, *puffian "to blow with the mouth," of imitative origin. Compare pouf, from French. Especially "to blow with quick, intermittent blasts" (early 14c.). Meaning "pant, breathe hard and fast" is from late 14c.

The meaning "to fill, inflate, or expand with breath or air" is by 1530s. The intransitive sense, in reference to small swellings and round protuberances, is by 1725. The transitive figurative sense of "exalt" is from 1530s; shading by early 18c. into the meaning "praise with self-interest, give undue or servile praise to." Related: Puffed; puffing.

updated on January 28, 2021

Definitions of puff from WordNet
puff (v.)
smoke and exhale strongly;
puff a cigar
Synonyms: whiff
puff (v.)
suck in or take (air);
Synonyms: drag / draw
puff (v.)
breathe noisily, as when one is exhausted;
Synonyms: pant / gasp / heave
puff (v.)
make proud or conceited;
The sudden fame puffed her ego
puff (v.)
praise extravagantly;
The critics puffed up this Broadway production
Synonyms: puff up
puff (v.)
speak in a blustering or scornful manner;
A puffing kind of man
puff (v.)
to swell or cause to enlarge;
Her faced puffed up from the drugs
puffed out chests
Synonyms: puff up / blow up / puff out
puff (v.)
blow hard and loudly;
he huffed and puffed as he made his way up the mountain
Synonyms: huff / chuff
puff (n.)
a short light gust of air;
Synonyms: puff of air / whiff
puff (n.)
a light inflated pastry or puff shell;
puff (n.)
exaggerated praise (as for promotional purposes);
puff (n.)
bedding made of two layers of cloth filled with stuffing and stitched together;
Synonyms: quilt / comforter / comfort
puff (n.)
a soft spherical object made from fluffy fibers; for applying powder to the skin;
Synonyms: powderpuff
puff (n.)
thick cushion used as a seat;
Synonyms: ottoman / pouf / pouffe / hassock
puff (n.)
a slow inhalation (as of tobacco smoke);
he took a puff on his pipe
Synonyms: drag / pull
puff (n.)
forceful exhalation through the nose or mouth;
he blew out all the candles with a single puff
Synonyms: blow
puff (adj.)
gathered for protruding fullness;
puff sleeves
Synonyms: puffed
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