\ ˈbəf How to pronounce buff (audio) \

Definition of buff

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a garment (such as a uniform) made of buff leather
2 : the state of being nude sunbathing in the buff
3a : a moderate orange yellow
b : a light to moderate yellow
4 : a device having a soft absorbent surface (as of cloth) by which polishing material is applied
5 [earlier buff an enthusiast about going to fires; perhaps from the buff overcoats worn by volunteer firefighters in New York City about 1820] : fan, enthusiast

Definition of buff (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : of the color buff
2 or buffed \ ˈbəft How to pronounce buffed (audio) \ : having a physique enhanced by bodybuilding exercises


buffed; buffing; buffs

Definition of buff (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : polish, shine waxed and buffed the floor
2 : to give a velvety surface to (leather)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for buff

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of buff in a Sentence

Noun he's such a film buff that he owns over 3,000 movies protected by a fully enclosed backyard, the couple would frequently sunbathe in the buff Adjective He's at the gym every day trying to get buff. the buff body of an athlete Verb The floors are waxed and buffed every year. She is going to the salon to get her nails buffed.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Singh said his son was a health buff who took up scuba diving about two months ago. Washington Post, "2 Singaporeans among California boat fire victims," 8 Sep. 2019 The historical society intends to continue seasonal offerings, although the museum houses a number of other items of interest to local and military history buffs. cleveland, "Broadview Heights Historical Society wraps up successful Christmas display, settles into permanent home," 17 Dec. 2019 Last year, John Shontz, a retired lawyer and a railroad history buff who lives 212 miles away in Helena, Mont., decided to research the old Milwaukee Road tunnel and those who built it. BostonGlobe.com, "TAFT, Mont. — More than 110 years ago, as the West finally was being tamed, the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul railroad rushed to build a transcontinental rail line to the Pacific Coast. Standing in the way, though, was a formidable peak in the middle of Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains.," 15 Dec. 2019 History buffs should get excited because Valhalla will follow the axe-swinging adventures of some of the world’s most famous Vikings, including Leif Erickson, Freydis, Harald Harada, and William the Conqueror. Erin Cavoto, Country Living, "'Vikings’ Is Getting a Sequel But It Won't Be on History Channel," 23 Nov. 2019 Resident and local history buff Don Parker said historical interpretation should be an important part of the park. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "Remnants of Inver Grove Heights past considered for Heritage Village Park," 19 Nov. 2019 Everything from patches and helmets to a dinner service set used by Adolf Hitler, the store likely has an enormous variety of items that could appeal to collectors and history buffs. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A veteran is planning to make his South Milwaukee military relic store one of the largest in the Midwest," 19 Nov. 2019 Two Civil War-era schooners that collided and sank into Lake Michigan more than 140 years ago were found thanks to a diver and maritime history buff looking for shipwrecks. Fox News, "Civil War-era schooners found in Lake Michigan by history buff 140 years after shipwreck," 22 Sep. 2019 Yes, Hallmark, Lifetime and Freeform all have their regular contributions, but the place for this holiday buff is Turner Classic Movies (like CNN, part of WarnerMedia), as the old standbys begin making the rounds. Brian Lowry, CNN, "With holiday movies and TV, the oldies are still golden," 26 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Many animals compensate for puny muscles with speed, but muscles—even in the buffest bodybuilder—can only contract so fast. National Geographic, "Watch Spider Jaws Move as Quickly as World's Fastest Runner," 7 Apr. 2016 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Floors once strewn with needles are regularly mopped and buffed to a sheen. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "BART installs gates, adds attendants to make elevators safer, more secure," 6 Nov. 2019 Its edge got buffed down, as did some of its creative panache. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "The end of Barneys, the store that made us lust for fashion," 2 Nov. 2019 Rather than tossing your beloved pots and pans, there are a number of at-home remedies that can buff these beauties to their former glory. Country Living Staff, Country Living, "How to Clean a Burnt Pan," 14 Oct. 2019 Where the Pixel 2 looked rough around the edges, the Pixel 3 has been buffed to a brilliant shine. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The Pixel 3’s Greatness Is Measured in Millimeters," 15 Oct. 2018 Less time can result in the stripping of enamel, since technicians will often buff or scrape away the residual color. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How to Grow Out Your Nails in 2 Weeks or Less," 17 Aug. 2019 There was a new-car smell in the air while workers polished glass panels, buffed countertops, and stenciled the new sponsor name United Airlines Field onto the grass. Los Angeles Times, "Column: USC’s renovation of the Coliseum is dazzling. Can the same be said of the Trojans?," 15 Aug. 2019 The blitz coincided with efforts to mop and buff floors more frequently. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Homeless people were pushed from BART stations. Now they’re riding the trains," 5 Sep. 2019 Apply a thin coat and rub it in with a microfiber cloth and then buff it. Henry Robertson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up a Guitar And Make It Your Own," 7 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of buff


1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1746, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for buff


Middle French buffle wild ox, from Old Italian bufalo

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Statistics for buff

Last Updated

6 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Buff.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buff. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for buff

English Language Learners Definition of buff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US, informal : having a strong, muscular body or form



English Language Learners Definition of buff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (a surface) smooth and shiny by rubbing it


\ ˈbəf How to pronounce buff (audio) \

Kids Definition of buff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pale orange yellow
2 : a stick or wheel with a soft surface for applying polish
3 : fan entry 3 a music buff


buffed; buffing

Kids Definition of buff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to polish with or as if with a buff

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More from Merriam-Webster on buff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for buff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with buff

Spanish Central: Translation of buff

Nglish: Translation of buff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of buff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on buff

What made you want to look up buff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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