\ 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 Verlander doffed his cap to the adoring crowd, which remained in applause for about 30 seconds. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Justin Verlander joins 3,000-strikeout club," 28 Sep. 2019 Bumgarner doffed his helmet and waved it toward the fans. Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ Madison Bumgarner appears in Bruce Bochy’s final game — as a hitter," 29 Sep. 2019 Once Jimmie’s dad doffs his homburg and takes a seat, be prepared for some serious head-scratching. Mark Feeney,, "A sense of dislocation in ‘The Last Black Man in San Francisco’," 13 June 2019 Jerry Rice doffed his cap to Antonio Brown on Monday, telling a Bay Area radio station that the now-New England wide receiver put on an acting job worthy of acclaim and along the way fooled everyone — including Rice. Michael Lerseth,, "Jerry Rice: Give Antonio Brown an Oscar after this performance," 9 Sep. 2019 In the dugout, Rick Porcello approvingly doffed his cap. Matt Porter,, "Red Sox blank Orioles for fourth straight win," 17 Aug. 2019 In terms of making the best of the situation, caps should be doffed to Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz for his response. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: Trump Named the Wrong City for Ohio's Mass Shooting," 11 Aug. 2019 Award-winning cows, horses, sheep and even donkeys paraded in front of him, as gauchos dressed in their baggy bombacha trousers doffed their berets. The Economist, "Might Mauricio Macri be reelected in Argentina?," 10 Aug. 2019 Brantley flashed that smile, doffed his cap and jogged to Terry Francona. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros chip in as AL wins All-Star Game," 9 July 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.

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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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Time Traveler for doff

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for doff

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Doff.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for doff


How to pronounce doff (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to constrict the range or activity of

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