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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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Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
Advertisement Now, young stages of butterflies, moths and other beneficial insects are nestled in last year’s leaves, some of them munching on decomposing duff — leaves, twigs, bark and other plant litter. Monica Cardoza, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2023 The fire burned the top layer of the forest floor, known as the duff, Arnum said. Matt Yan, BostonGlobe.com, 23 May 2022 How to avoid shiny object syndrome Experiencing shiny object syndrome doesn’t mean your existing business is duff. Jodie Cook, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2023 Fire can smolder below the surface in the duff for weeks. Simon Romero, BostonGlobe.com, 20 Aug. 2022 Fire can smolder below the surface in the duff for weeks. New York Times, 20 Aug. 2022 The trees rely on low- to moderate-intensity fire to reproduce, as bursts of heat prompt their cones to open and flames clear duff from the forest floor so the seeds can better germinate in the soil below, Nelson said. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2022 Alaska’s fire season around the solstice is driven by long, warm days that dry out the boreal duff layer that can easily be ignited by lightning, fire officials say. Anchorage Daily News, 16 June 2022 Instead, Hilary, Stephen, and the Empire staff sell duff, irrelevant movies. Armond White, National Review, 9 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'duff.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the partly decayed plant and animal matter on the floor of a forest
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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