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noun (1)

: a boiled or steamed pudding often containing dried fruit
: the partly decayed organic matter on the forest floor
: fine coal : slack


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noun (2)

: buttocks
get off your duff


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Examples of duff in a Sentence

Noun (2) I've been sitting on my duff all day
Recent Examples on the Web
The peat and duff of the forest floor began to smolder. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 That’s a political choice, too — the choice by lawmakers unwilling to get off their duffs to bring those costs under control, say, by capping prescription drug prices. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 The structure of the forest floor depends on the quantity of peat, duff, downed logs, and dead trees—perhaps killed by plagues of beetles, which have thrived as global temperatures have risen. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2023 Heap up a big mound of duff and detritus from the forest floor, then excavate a pocket that is large enough to crawl into. Keith McCafferty, Field & Stream, 29 June 2023 Hotshot personnel lighted low-intensity fires to burn off duff and litter. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2021 Montreal stands in capably enough for Baltimore in a simultaneously sleek and gritty design package whose only duff note is a slight excess of aerial shots (and gimmicky upside-down perspectives) in Julia’s otherwise first-rate widescreen photography. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 17 Apr. 2023 Despite recent cool weather and clouds in the area, the duff, which is organic matter covering the soil, is extremely dry. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 6 July 2021 Most of it comes from the duff, not the trees. Randi Jandt, Scientific American, 1 Oct. 2021

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

Word History


Noun (1)

English dialect, alteration of dough

Noun (2)

origin unknown


duff, noun, something worthless, from duff entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1837, in the meaning defined above


circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of duff was in 1816

Dictionary Entries Near duff

Cite this Entry

“Duff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duff. Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the partly decayed plant and animal matter on the floor of a forest
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