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 Also in Larimer Square, Tag’s Campana buffalo mozzarella is made with charred peaches, guanciale, pine nuts and Calabrian chili oil. Josie Sexton, The Know, "From peach foie gras to boozy slushies, 20 ways to eat peaches at Denver restaurants right now," 28 Aug. 2019 In addition to beer and cocktails—and former ’80s hair-metal bands—this rally shines a spotlight on local South Dakota food staples including buffalo, wild game, and steak tips. Fortune, "What Eating and Drinking at the World’s Biggest Motorcycle Rally Reveals About the State of Festival Food," 18 Aug. 2019 For more info: FOOD: Creating an irresistible mozzarella | Watch Video At the organic cheesemaker Tenuta Vannulo, in southern Italy, the specialty is fresh buffalo mozzarella. CBS News, "This Week: "A Sunday Morning in Florence" (August 18)," 15 Aug. 2019 The crisp buffalo calamari ($10) was an easy favorite at the event with its classic tang. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "First bite: Stir Restaurant & Bar in Orlando's Ivanhoe Village," 16 Mar. 2018 The disturbed earth was the chief habitat of running buffalo clover Trifolium stoloniferum, a plant species once found in nine states stretching from the Midwest to the Appalachians. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Once Thought to Be Extinct, This Lucky Clover Has Recovered Enough to Come Off the Endangered List," 16 Sep. 2019 In Gettysburg, cannons attract tourists the way buffalo do at Yellowstone National Park. Lois Smith Brady, New York Times, "Love Is a Battlefield," 13 Sep. 2019 Indian Valley Meats has a stand with spicy reindeer Polish dogs, buffalo bratwurst and caribou steak sandwiches. Samantha Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Umiak,’ ‘quesa-deer-a’ and fresh oysters: How Alaskans put their own spin on state fair food," 29 Aug. 2019 Sample cheeses made from cow, sheep, goat and buffalo milk by more than two dozen California cheesemakers, paired with charcuterie, chocolate, pickles, preserves and other accompaniments. Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, "SF Cheese Fest returns in a flurry of brie, bleu and grand fromage," 28 Aug. 2019

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

4 Nov 2019

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 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

Comments on buffalo

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


to engage in dissolute behavior

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