noun, often attributive
buf·​fa·​lo | \ ˈbə-fə-ˌlō How to pronounce buffalo (audio) \
plural buffalo or buffaloes also buffalos

Definition of buffalo

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : any of several wild bovids: such as
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 How to pronounce Buffalo (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Buffalonian (audio) \ 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

Verb 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 Jaguars, sloths, tapirs, horses, coyotes, buffalo, rabbits, and squirrels up and down the North American continent are now spared from screwworms too. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "The U.S. Is Spending Millions of Dollars Rearing Flesh-Eating Worms," 26 May 2020 Make that the big ten—lion, my face, leopard, my face, rhino, my face, elephant, my face, buffalo, my face. Colin Nissan, The New Yorker, "I’m Taking Another Photograph of My Own Face," 18 Dec. 2019 Today, a lot of paneer in India is made with a mix of buffalo and less-expensive cow’s milk. Leena Trivedi-grenier, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area cheesemakers are changing the narrative of paneer in the U.S.," 15 May 2020 Ney’s Big Sky: Frozen meats delivered include beef, burgers, bratwurst, hot dogs, poultry, pork, buffalo and bacon. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "As restaurants close for coronavirus, farmers find ways to get food to our homes," 31 Mar. 2020 Even as buffalo were being removed from the landscape of the West, other things were being extracted from its soil. BostonGlobe.com, "ANDOVER — What may be the single most arresting object in “A Wildness Apart: Art and Ecology in 19th-Century America” is not an artwork. It is strikingly beautiful, though. The show runs through July 31 at the Addison Gallery of American Art, on the campus of Phillips Academy.," 27 Sep. 2019 Take a safari for chances to see the country’s famous animals, including elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos. Claire Trageser, Travel + Leisure, "The 50 Best Romantic Getaways," 28 Apr. 2020 Nearby, other hunters set on more buffaloes, as well as pigs. Kate Wong, Scientific American, "Is This Indonesian Cave Painting the Earliest Portrayal of a Mythical Story?," 1 Mar. 2020 By 1850, Ohio was home to 2 million people, and there were no more bobcats, wolves, buffalo, elk, mountain lions, bears or beavers. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, "Granger Township celebrates the 1820s in 2020," 17 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Eva has the senior management in our company completely buffaloed. Anchorage Daily News, "I’m the only one who sees my coworker’s bad behavior," 18 Feb. 2020 How far must buffalo roam to fulfill their ecological role? National Geographic, "Two visions collide amid push to restore Montana plains," 16 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for buffalo

Time Traveler

The first known use of buffalo was in 1562

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Cite this Entry

“Buffalo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buffalo. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for buffalo


buf·​fa·​lo | \ ˈbə-fə-ˌlō How to pronounce buffalo (audio) \
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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for buffalo

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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