from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A short forceful exhalation of breath.
  • noun A short sudden gust of wind.
  • noun A brief sudden emission of air, vapor, or smoke.
  • noun A short sibilant sound produced by a puff.
  • noun An amount of vapor, smoke, or similar material released in a puff.
  • noun An act of drawing in and expelling the breath, as in smoking tobacco.
  • noun A swelling or rounded protuberance.
  • noun Puff pastry.
  • noun A light soft pad for applying powder or lotion.
  • noun A gathered, protruding portion of fabric.
  • noun A light padded bed covering.
  • noun An approving or flattering recommendation.
  • noun A piece of writing, as on the jacket of a book, containing often exaggerated praise, used for promotional purposes.
  • noun Genetics A localized region of swelling in certain chromosomes indicating the active synthesis of RNA.
  • intransitive verb To blow in puffs.
  • intransitive verb To come forth in puffs.
  • intransitive verb To breathe forcefully and rapidly.
  • intransitive verb To emit puffs.
  • intransitive verb To take puffs on smoking material.
  • intransitive verb To swell or seem to swell, as with pride or air. Often used with up.
  • intransitive verb To emit or give forth in puffs.
  • intransitive verb To impel with puffs.
  • intransitive verb To smoke (a cigar, for example).
  • intransitive verb To inflate or distend.
  • intransitive verb To fill with pride or conceit.
  • intransitive verb To publicize with often exaggerated praise.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To blow with quick, intermittent blasts; emit a whiff, as of wind, air, or smoke.
  • To blow, as an expression of scorn or contempt; snort; sneer.
  • To breathe with agitation, as after violent exertion.
  • To act or move with flurry and a swelling, bustling appearance; assume importance.
  • To blow; send forth in quick short blasts or whiffs; drive with a blast.
  • To draw smoke through, or send out smoke from.
  • To fill, inflate, or expand with breath or air, and figuratively with pride, vanity, conceit, etc.; swell: frequently with up: as, puffed up with success; puffed with ambition.
  • To praise with exaggeration; give undue or servile praise to.
  • noun A sharp, forcible blast; a whiff; a sudden emission, as of air from the mouth, or smoke from the stack of an engine; also, as much as is suddenly so emitted at one time.
  • noun A puffball.
  • noun An inflated, swollen, light, fluffy, or porous thing or part.
  • noun A light, porous, spongy, or friable cake, generally filled with preserve or the like: as, cream-puffs; jam-puffs.
  • noun An implement consisting of swan's down or a wad of flossy or loose texture, used for applying powder to the hair or skin. See powderpuff.
  • noun Exaggerated or undue praise uttered or written from an interested point of view; especially, a written commendation of a book, an actor's or a singer's performance, a tradesman's goods, or the like.
  • noun One who is puffed up; an inflated, conceited person.
  • noun One who writes puffs.
  • noun A small vessel with minute openings for scattering liquid perfumes.
  • An exclamation of contempt or impatience.
  • In botany, to discharge suddenly a clond of spores, as frequently occurs in certain fungi.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A sudden and single emission of breath from the mouth; hence, any sudden or short blast of wind; a slight gust; a whiff.
  • noun Anything light and filled with air. Specifically: (a) A puffball. (b) kind of light pastry. (c) A utensil of the toilet for dusting the skin or hair with powder.
  • noun An exaggerated or empty expression of praise, especially one in a public journal.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English puffen, to puff, from Old English pyffan, perhaps of imitative origin.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English pyffian


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