duf·​fer | \ ˈdə-fər How to pronounce duffer (audio) \

Definition of duffer

1a : a peddler especially of cheap flashy articles
b : something counterfeit or worthless
2 : an incompetent, ineffectual, or clumsy person especially : a mediocre golfer
3 Australia : a cattle rustler

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Did You Know?

Duffers have never really been straight shooters-on or off the golf course. The original duffers of the mid-18th century were shysters of the first order, merchants who palmed off trashy goods as if they were highly valuable (they often implied to unwary buyers that the goods had been smuggled and were very rare). Over time, the meaning of duffer was extended from a no-good peddler to anyone who was "no good," not just because the individual had low morals, but because he or she was incompetent or stupid. The term has been applied to hopelessly bad golfers since the late 19th century.

Examples of duffer in a Sentence

We joined the other duffers at the course. He's a lovable old duffer.
Recent Examples on the Web At the Lajitas Golf Resort, on an emerald course shimmering in the Chihuahuan Desert, the duffers and ringers were teeing off each morning last week. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "After hard shutdown, Big Bend slowly reopening," 1 June 2020 Just as every country club duffer envisions himself on the back nine at The Masters, most weekend anglers have at some point fancied the idea of making a living fishing for bass. Pete Robbins, Field & Stream, "Meet the 10 Highest-Earners in Professional Bass Fishing," 6 Mar. 2020 Chalamet is okay for Laurie’s teenaged phase, and Gerwig has every right to make Bhaer a little hotter than the middle-aged duffer in the book. Ross Douthat, National Review, "Little Women and 1917 Should Get a Joint Best Picture," 23 Jan. 2020 Serious golfers, casual duffers and spectators are excited about the new sports entertainment complex -- which has a driving range, full restaurant and a two-story television in the bar area -- located at 5820 Rockside Woods Blvd. John Benson, cleveland, "Independence overcomes TIF shank off tee, lands on the green with Topgolf project," 13 Jan. 2020 No duffer: Jason Duffner, who golfed at Auburn, won the 2013 PGA Championship by shooting 10 under at Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course after opening the final round with a one-shot deficit. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Alabama 200: State’s sports history littered with amazing, memorable moments," 27 Nov. 2019 The world #1 has a physique atypical for a weekend duffer -- hence all the hullabaloo. David Close, CNN, "Weekend sports guide: College football is back and Little League and PGA Tour crown champions," 23 Aug. 2019 Hackers, duffers or pros are invited to Campbell’s 55th annual golf tournament, teeing off Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Cinnabar Hills. Debby Rice, The Mercury News, "Summer potpourri in the West Valley," 18 Aug. 2019 Nearby, aboard the USS Midway Museum, Topgolf is welcoming duffers eager to drive biodegradable golf balls into perhaps the world’s largest water hazard, San Diego Bay. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Comic-Con’s ever-expanding universe: At 50, the show is bigger than ever," 17 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'duffer.' 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 duffer

1756, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for duffer

perhaps from duff, noun, something worthless

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The first known use of duffer was in 1756

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Cite this Entry

“Duffer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duffer. Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for duffer


How to pronounce duffer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of duffer

chiefly US : a person who plays golf without much skill
British : a clumsy or awkward person

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with duffer

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