Pronunciation Noun


  1. (countable) A sharp exhalation of a small amount of breath through the mouth.
  2. (uncountable) The ability to breathe easily while exerting oneself.
    Synonyms: wind
    out of puff
  3. (countable) A small quantity of gas or smoke in the air.
    puff of smoke
  4. (countable) A sudden gust.
    • to every puff of wind a slave
  5. (informal, countable) An act of inhaling smoke from a cigarette, cigar or pipe.
    Synonyms: drag
  6. (countable) A flamboyant or alluring statement of praise.
    • 1931, Bernard Shaw, Our Theatre in the Nineties (volume 24, page 246)
      […] we critics were not his fellow-guests, but simply deadheads whose business it was to "dress the house" and write puffs.
  7. (dated, slang) A puffer, one who is employed by the owner or seller of goods sold at auction to bid up the price; an act or scam of that type.
    • 1842, "A Paper on Puffing", Ainsworth's Magazine
      Is nothing to be said in praise of the "Emporiums" and "Repositories" and "Divans," which formerly were mere insignificant tailors', toymen's, and tobacconists' shops? Is the transition from the barber's pole to the revolving bust of the perruquier, nothing? — the leap from the bare counter-traversed shop to the carpeted and mirrored saloon of trade, nothing? Are they not, one and all, practical puffs, intended to invest commerce with elegance, and to throw a halo round extravagance?
    • 1848, Mrs. White, "Puffs and Puffing", in Sharpe's London Magazine
      Here the duke is made the vehicle of the tailor's advertisement, and the prelusive compliments, ostensibly meant for his grace, merge into a covert recommendation of the coat. Several specimens might be given of this species of puff, which is to be met with in almost every paper, and is a favourite form with booksellers, professional men, &c.
    • 2008, David Paton-Williamspage, Katterfelto, page xii
      He was the eighteenth century king of spin, or, in the language of the day, the "prince of puff".
  8. A puffball.
    • 1598, John Florio, A Worlde of Wordes, or Most Copious, and Exact Dictionarie in Italian and English, London: Edward Blount, p. 47,
      Bozzacchio, an acorne. Also a puffe or mushrump full of dust.
  9. A powder puff.
  10. (uncountable, slang) The drug cannabis.
    Synonyms: Thesaurus:marijuana
  11. (countable) A light cake filled with cream, cream cheese, etc.
    Synonyms: pastry, cream puff
    cream puff
  12. (derogatory, slang, British, particularly northern UK) Synonym of poof#English|poof: a male homosexual, especially an effeminate one.
  13. (slang, dated, UK) Life.
    • 1938, P. G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters
      Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?
  14. A portion of fabric gathered up so as to be left full in the middle.
    a sleeve with a puff at the shoulder
  15. (genetics) A region of a chromosome exhibiting a local increase in diameter.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Windbeutel
  • Italian: bombolone, bignè, pasta sfoglia
  • Portuguese: profiterole
  • Russian: профитроль

puff (puffs, present participle puffing; past and past participle puffed)

  1. (intransitive) To emit smoke, gas, etc., in puffs.
  2. (intransitive) To pant.
    • The ass comes back again, puffing and blowing, from the chase.
    • 1918, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot Chapter VI
      Puffing and panting, we plodded on until within about a mile of the harbor we came upon a sight that brought us all up standing.
  3. (transitive, archaic) To advertise.
  4. To blow as an expression of scorn.
    • It is really to defy Heaven to puff at damnation.
  5. To swell with air; to be dilated or inflated.
  6. To breathe in a swelling, inflated, or pompous manner; hence, to assume importance.
    • Then came brave Glory puffing by.
  7. To drive with a puff, or with puffs.
    • The clearing north will puff the clouds away.
  8. To repel with words; to blow at contemptuously.
    • I puff the prostitute away.
  9. To cause to swell or dilate; to inflate.
    a bladder puffed with air
    • c. 1590–1592, William Shakespeare, “The Taming of the Shrew”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene ii]:
      the sea puffed up with winds
  10. To inflate with pride, flattery, self-esteem, etc.; often with up.
    • puffed up with military success
  11. To praise with exaggeration; to flatter; to call public attention to by praises; to praise unduly.
    • 1881, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “[https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica,_Ninth_Edition/Johnson,_Samuel Samuel Johnson]”, in Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition:
Translations Translations

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