noun, often attributive
buf·​fa·​lo | \ˈbə-fə-ˌlō \
plural buffalo or buffaloes also buffalos

Definition of buffalo 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 : any of several wild bovids: such as

a : water buffalo

b : cape buffalo

c(1) : any of a genus (Bison) of bovids especially : a large shaggy-maned North American bovid (B. bison) that has short horns and heavy forequarters with a large muscular hump and that was formerly abundant on the central and western plains — compare wisent

(2) : the flesh of the buffalo used as food

2 : any of several suckers (genus Ictiobus) found mostly in the Mississippi River valley

called also buffalo fish


buffaloed; buffaloing

Definition of buffalo (Entry 2 of 3)


geographical name
Buf·​fa·​lo | \ˈbə-fə-ˌlō \

Definition of Buffalo (Entry 3 of 3)

city and port on Lake Erie and the Niagara River in western New York population 261,310

Illustration of buffalo

Illustration of buffalo


buffalo 1c(1)

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from buffalo

Geographical name

Buffalonian \ˌbə-​fə-​ˈlō-​nē-​ən \ noun

What is the origin of buffalo?

Greeks traveled much of the ancient world, and Greek authors gave names to many unfamiliar animals. The African gazelle they called boubalos. Later, the Romans borrowed this Greek word and used it for gazelle and for wild ox. In Latin the form was first bubalus and later bufalus. This Latin word for wild ox passed into Italian as bufalo and into Spanish as búfalo. From these languages, the English then picked up the word, spelling it buffalo, and when English settlers arrived in America, they gave the name to the big, shaggy animal that is also called bison.

Examples of buffalo in a Sentence


I'm not some newcomer that you can buffalo with that nonsense. in this debate I refuse to be buffaloed by a flurry of irrelevant issues

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bison, or buffalo, once thundered across the heart of North America in the tens of millions. Washington Post, "North Dakota author details comeback of American buffalo," 17 June 2018 Chef D'Angelo’s signature lasagna is a popular dish, as is his fresh potato gnocchi topped with homemade tomato and basil sauce and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Jennifer M. Wood, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips from Miami," 4 Mar. 2018 Purists go for the margherita with buffalo mozzarella. 5. Fox News, "America's top 5 pizza restaurants," 28 Jan. 2016 Top with buffalo mozzarella, basil chiffonade, balsamic syrup, and capers. Multiple Authors, House Beautiful, "Morrell's Wine Bar and Café's Buffalo Mozzarella and Summer Vegetable Wrap," 1 May 2010 Think buffalo check chairs, zebra print rugs, and vintage French prints. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "You've Got To See This Champagne-Inspired Ski Lounge," 11 Oct. 2018 Bufalina pizza at Bufalina, Guilford — Score a seat at Bufalina's popular counter and order the bufalina pie with buffalo Mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and basil. Frank Cohen, courant.com, "What Great Dishes Are On Your Own CT Bucket List? Here Are Our Picks," 21 Feb. 2018 As far as other physical differences, wood bison also have a taller hump which is farther forward on their body, and their beards are pointier than the buffalo’s. Douglas Main, Newsweek, "Wood Bison, North America’s Largest Animal, to Be Reintroduced Into Alaska," 23 Sep. 2014 Meteors and collision avoidance YouTube has scores of dash cam videos documenting dangerous driving, dramatic rescues and lighter moments such as buffalo crossing the road. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dash cams capture it all, from bad driving to road trip photos," 23 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'buffalo.' 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 buffalo


1562, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1891, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for buffalo


Italian bufalo & Spanish búfalo, from Late Latin bufalus, alteration of Latin bubalus, from Greek boubalos African gazelle

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Statistics for buffalo

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for buffalo

The first known use of buffalo was in 1562

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More Definitions for buffalo


buf·​fa·​lo | \ˈbə-fə-ˌlō \
plural buffalo or buffaloes

Kids Definition of buffalo

: any of several wild oxen and especially the American bison

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More from Merriam-Webster on buffalo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with buffalo

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for buffalo

Spanish Central: Translation of buffalo

Nglish: Translation of buffalo for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of buffalo for Arabic Speakers

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