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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Two new studies are being hailed as proof that vaccinated people can doff masks and pod-hop worry-free. Megan Molteni, Wired, 25 Feb. 2021 Hospital workers were still learning how to don and doff protective equipment and familiarizing themselves with constantly changing protocols for avoiding infection. Elliott Woods, Wired, 17 May 2020 Another module teaches how to don and doff personal protective equipment, and how to adjust the settings on a mechanical ventilator. Gary Stix, Scientific American, 9 Apr. 2020 Time to doff that winter coat, and (temporarily) lose those mittens. Emily Sweeney,, 10 Jan. 2020 Faced with this new infection risk, many hospitals are scrambling to retrain workers in safety precautions, such as how to correctly don and doff personal protective equipment. Jenny Gold | Kaiser Health News, ABC News, 9 Mar. 2020 Pilots in flight uniforms doffed their hats and knelt, and flight attendants held bouquets of flowers. Andrew E. Kramer,, 19 Jan. 2020 After his sixth and final frame, Verlander doffed his cap toward an adoring section just above the first-base dugout. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, 28 Sep. 2019 Verlander doffed his cap to the adoring crowd, which remained in applause for about 30 seconds. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, 28 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About doff

Time Traveler for doff

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About doff

Statistics for doff

Cite this Entry

“Doff.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on doff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doff

Nglish: Translation of doff for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!