\ ˈməf How to pronounce muff (audio) \

Definition of muff

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a warm tubular covering for the hands


muffed; muffing; muffs

Definition of muff (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to handle awkwardly
2 : to fail to hold (a ball) when attempting a catch

intransitive verb

1 : to act or do something stupidly or clumsily
2 : to muff a ball — compare fumble

Definition of muff (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a bungling performance
2 : a failure to hold a ball in attempting a catch

Illustration of muff

Illustration of muff

Noun (1)

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of muff in a Sentence

Verb He muffed his chance for a promotion. The outfielder muffed an easy catch.

First Known Use of muff

Noun (1)

1599, in the meaning defined above


1846, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (2)

1867, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for muff

Noun (1)

Dutch mof, from Middle French moufle mitten, from Medieval Latin muffula


probably from muff entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about muff

Statistics for muff

Cite this Entry

“Muff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/muff. Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for muff



English Language Learners Definition of muff

informal : to make a mistake in doing or handling (something)


\ ˈməf How to pronounce muff (audio) \

Kids Definition of muff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a soft thick cover into which both hands can be placed to protect them from cold


muffed; muffing

Kids Definition of muff (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a mistake in doing or handling He muffed an easy catch.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on muff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for muff

Spanish Central: Translation of muff

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about muff

Comments on muff

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!