\ ˈdäf How to pronounce doff (audio) , ˈdȯf\

Definition of doff

transitive verb

1a : to remove (an article of wear) from the body
b : to take off (the hat) in greeting or as a sign of respect
2 : to rid oneself of : put aside
doff one's hat to or doff one's cap to
: to show respect to : salute

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Doff vs Don

Time was, people talked about doffing and donning articles of wear with about the same frequency. But in the mid-19th century the verb don became significantly more popular and left doff to flounder a bit in linguistic semi-obscurity. Doff and don have been a pair from the start: both date to the 14th century, with doff coming from a phrase meaning "to do off" and don from one meaning "to do on." Shakespeare was first, as far as we know, to use the word as it's defined at sense 2. He put it in Juliet's mouth: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet. / … Romeo, doff thy name; / And for that name, which is no part of thee, / Take all myself."

Examples of doff in a Sentence

He doffed his cap as he introduced himself. They doffed their coats when they came inside.

Recent Examples on the Web

While drummer JT Bates thundered and sizzled, the four attempted to don and doff jeans without the use of their hands. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Zenon Dance Company’s farewell is exhilarating and touching," 14 June 2019 In a foundational scene of monotheism, Moses doffs his kicks to approach the burning bush; shoes are, by their pedestrian nature, unfit for holy ground. Troy Patterson, The New Yorker, "The Normcore Opulence of Preachers Wearing Four-Figure Sneakers," 14 June 2019 As waves of applause wash over him, Lambert doffs his purple cap and waves it at the crowd. Washington Post, "For D-Day survivor, perhaps last trip to Omaha Beach," 12 June 2019 The moment when the much maligned coach compelled even his most ardent of dissenters to doff their caps in respect?, "Why Didier Deschamps Is Still a Problem Regardless of Leading France to the World Cup Final," 12 July 2018 For one thing, there are way more cars on the road and the concept that drivers should be extra-cautious in residential neighborhoods has largely gone the way of doffing your hat. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "Ball Sports Are Overrated. Get Your Kid Biking Instead.," 21 June 2018 In other moments, Connolly doffs his cap to GoodFellas, sudden outbursts of grisly violence set to popular music. Gary Thompson,, "'Gotti': John Travolta's new one will remind you of other, better mob movies," 14 June 2018 The senior left-hander then doffed his cap in response to the standing ovation from the Goss Stadium crowd of 3,960, but what came next caught him off-guard. Ron Richmond For The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Oregon State baseball gets back-to-back homers, strong start from Luke Heimlich to beat Minnesota," 8 June 2018 Your information will be used as described in our Privacy Policy NEW YORK — Justin Verlander exited the field and doffed his cap to a sizable contingent of Astros fans audible among the boos echoing from a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros, Verlander beat Yankees as bullpen holds on," 28 May 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for doff

Middle English, from don to do + of off

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Dictionary Entries near doff






do for a living


Statistics for doff

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for doff

The first known use of doff was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for doff



English Language Learners Definition of doff

old-fashioned : to take off or remove (a hat or a piece of clothing)


\ ˈdäf How to pronounce doff (audio) , ˈdȯf\
doffed; doffing

Kids Definition of doff

: to take off He politely doffed his cap.

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More from Merriam-Webster on doff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with doff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doff

Spanish Central: Translation of doff

Nglish: Translation of doff for Spanish Speakers

Comments on doff

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


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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