ˈdäf How to pronounce doff (audio)
doffed; doffing; doffs

transitive verb

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

Did you know?

Doff vs Don

Time was, people talked about doffing and donning articles of clothing 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 arising as a Middle English contraction of the phrase "to do off" and don as a contraction of "to do on." Shakespeare was among the first, as far as we know, to use the word as it's defined in the more general sense of "to rid oneself of" or "put aside." He has Juliet give voice to this sense when she says, "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 Kylie and Jason officially met the Grammy winner during the Chiefs' game against the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 21 — the playoff game where Jason famously doffed his shirt and chugged a few beers. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 1 Apr. 2024 The Americans beat China on penalties in front of a sellout crowd at the Rose Bowl, and Brandi Chastain doffed her jersey in celebration. Anne M. Peterson, Chicago Tribune, 7 Aug. 2023 At the Arnold — a Roman circus of strength and fitness staged in Columbus each winter — Derick doffed his tear-offs to reveal a full prosthetic, and blazed through the event at a gallop. Paul Solotaroff, Rolling Stone, 1 July 2023 Members of a meditation group for retirees are ready to doff their masks, even the woman with lung problems. Fenit Nirappil, Aara'l Yarber and Sheila Regan, Anchorage Daily News, 25 June 2023 That show of unity comes as divisions have emerged among long-haulers, some of whom are less ready than others to accept that the rest of the country has doffed its masks and is moving on. Frances Stead Sellers, Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2023 After his opening tee shot, Doan doffed his straw Ping hat to the crowd and stopped to hug Joe and Susan Black. Brad Townsend, Dallas News, 26 May 2023 Finally, when finished, Woods doffed his hat and raised it above his head as an ovation erupted all around him. Photographs By Doug Mills, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2023 On the most excruciatingly hot day, officials did make a tradition-breaking exception, allowing men to doff their coats and hats intermittently. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, 14 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'doff.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from don to do + of off

First Known Use

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

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


Dictionary Entries Near doff

Cite this Entry

“Doff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ˈdäf How to pronounce doff (audio)
: to take off (as one's hat as an act of politeness)

Middle English doffen "to take off," from don "to do" and of "off"

More from Merriam-Webster on doff

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