"bunch of soft and flexible things fixed at the base with the upper ends loose," late 14c., of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French touffe "tuft of hair" (14c.), which is either from Late Latin tufa "a kind of crest on a helmet" (also found in Late Greek toupha), or from a Germanic source (compare Old High German zopf, Old Norse toppr "tuft, summit;" see top (n.1)). As a verb from 1530s. Related: Tufted.
updated on February 20, 2014