\ ˈləf How to pronounce luff (audio) \

Definition of luff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of sailing a ship nearer the wind
2 : the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail


luffed; luffing; luffs

Definition of luff (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to turn the head of a ship toward the wind

Examples of luff in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Smaller cranes, such as luffing or mobile cranes, are laid flat on the ground during a storm and do not pose a threat. Rene Rodriguez, miamiherald, "Construction cranes could be dangerous during Hurricane Irma," 5 Sep. 2017

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

First Known Use of luff


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for luff


Middle English lof spar holding out the windward tack of a sail, weather side of a ship, from Anglo-French

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Time Traveler for luff

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with luff

Comments on luff

What made you want to look up luff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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