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 Tacos are filled with cauliflower, Thai shrimp, jackfruit, barbacoa and chicken tinga, and pizzas include margherita, smoked buffalo and Italian combo varieties. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "Elicit Brewing in Manchester opens with food, cocktails, karaoke and arcade games," 18 Nov. 2019 Those are usually some kind of buffalo or Korean fried chicken wing, yummy Italian, dumplings — something real splurgy. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "Seth Rogen and Wife Lauren Have Spent More Than $21,000 on Postmates — See Their Orders," 13 Nov. 2019 First came the herbivores: elephants, impalas, buffaloes, and more. The Christian Science Monitor, "The green grass grows all around," 9 Aug. 2019 Since 1961 methane emissions from ruminant livestock, which include cows as well as sheep, buffalo and goats, have significantly increased, according to the report. Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, "Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns," 8 Aug. 2019 The tariff would apply to a wide range of products, from live buffalo and primates to T-shirts and shoes. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Apple, Microsoft and other tech companies ask to be excluded from the China tariffs," 20 June 2019 According to Lackmann, bigmouth buffalo and their conservation are now getting more attention. Zekriah Chaudhry, Twin Cities, "Minnesota angler’s mysterious ‘giant goldfish’ helps shed light on species," 14 June 2019 By the end of the 19th century, the American frontier was closed, the herds of buffalo and the great flocks of passenger pigeons were gone, and some feared the magnificent trees would disappear, too. Zach St. George, Smithsonian, "How California’s Giant Sequoias Tell the Story of Americans’ Conflicted Relationship With Nature," 20 Mar. 2018 The safari's Big Five — the lion, rhino, elephant, leopard and buffalo — are a major selling point to foreigners in gift shops and airports. Daniel Gallan, CNN, "Why South Africa's Rugby World Cup victory means so much more," 2 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for buffalo

Time Traveler

The first known use of buffalo was in 1562

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Statistics for buffalo

Last Updated

2 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Buffalo.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/buffaloes. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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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

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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