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


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

In 1882, six hundred Lakota and Yanktonai found a big herd of buffalo west of the Standing Rock Reservation. David Treuer, Harper's magazine, "2020 Vision," 10 Jan. 2019 The sandwich sounds promising, with the chicken tossed in buffalo sauce, and umami aioli and jalapeno slaw included. Chris Erskine, latimes.com, "New at Dodger Stadium: spicy Mexican street corn, a decent lobster roll and quinoa salad (what would Babe Ruth say?)," 29 Mar. 2018 We slow-cook chicken in buffalo sauce, hand wrap them. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Switch to a culinary career was 'simply irresistible' for Waukesha restaurant owner," 6 July 2018 They are smothered in a buffalo sauce and topped with blue cheese. BostonGlobe.com, "TAVERN IN THE SQUARE," 23 May 2018 The cleansing rituals include—as Ms. George herself observed—washing their hair in a river with buffalo dung followed by a rinse with cow’s milk and urine. Laura Landro, WSJ, "‘Nine Pints’ Review: The Stuff of Life," 29 Oct. 2018 On Wednesday night, Pompeo hosted Kim Yong Chol, a 72-year-old North Korean usually described as leader Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man, for a dinner of filet mignon, Burrata buffalo milk cheese and corn puree in New York. Tracy Wilkinson, latimes.com, "Senior North Korea official heads to White House as summit pace picks up," 31 May 2018 Potential health benefits of cockroach milk surfaced in 2016, when researchers said the milk of a pregnant cockroach packs more protein than cow's milk (and any milk besides buffalo milk). Ashley May, USA TODAY, "Cockroach milk researcher: It's healthy, but I wouldn't drink it," 31 May 2018 Otherwise, look for domestic burrata, made with cow’s milk instead of the traditional buffalo milk. David Tanis, New York Times, "A Deluxe Asparagus Frittata, Topped With Burrata," 27 Apr. 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

17 Jun 2019

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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

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

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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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