\ ˈpəf How to pronounce puff (audio) \
puffed; puffing; puffs

Definition of puff

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a(1) : to blow in short gusts
(2) : to exhale forcibly
b : to breathe hard : pant
c : to emit small whiffs or clouds (as of smoke) often as an accompaniment to vigorous action puff at a pipe
2 : to speak or act in a scornful, conceited, or exaggerated manner
3a : to become distended : swell usually used with up
b : to open or appear in or as if in a puff
4 : to form a chromosomal puff

transitive verb

1a : to emit, propel, blow, or expel by or as if by puffs : waft
b : to draw on (a cigar, cigarette, pipe, etc.) with intermittent exhalations of smoke
2a : to distend with or as if with air or gas : inflate
b : to make proud or conceited : elate
c(1) : to praise extravagantly and usually with exaggeration authors puffing their own work
(2) : advertise



Definition of puff (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an act or instance of puffing : whiff
b : a slight explosive sound accompanying a puff
c : a perceptible cloud or aura emitted in a puff
2 : a light round hollow pastry
3a : a slight swelling : protuberance
b : a fluffy mass: such as
(1) : pouf sense 2
(2) : a small fluffy pad for applying cosmetic powder
(3) : a soft loose roll of hair
(4) : a quilted bed covering
4 : a commendatory or promotional notice or review
5 : an enlarged region of a chromosome that is associated with intensely active genes involved in RNA synthesis



Definition of puff (Entry 3 of 3)

: of, relating to, or designed for promotion or flattery a puff piece in the paper

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Synonyms for puff

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of puff in a Sentence

Verb She sat on the porch puffing on a cigarette. The chimney puffed white smoke into the sky. We watched the train puff away on its journey west. He was puffing and panting from running. The bikers puffed up the hill. Noun He let me have a puff off his pipe. She took two puffs on her inhaler before going for a run. puffs filled with cream cheese and apricot jam
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When candied, Chinese lotus seeds are denser, nuttier, and more starchy, while AshaPops puff their water lily seeds into a lighter, fluffier popcorn-alternative. Amber Gibson, Bon Appétit, "I Can't Stop Munching On This Fluffy, Flavorful Popcorn Dupe," 26 Feb. 2021 It’s a Carnival custom that would cause Sigmund Freud to puff his pipe with particular vigor. Doug Maccash | Staff Writer, NOLA.com, "Attention potential Mardi Gras pole greasers: The Royal Sonesta Hotel wants you," 25 Jan. 2021 The multitalented Esarora Ice Roller can de-puff their face, ease migraines and body aches and even help alleviate hangovers from one too many glasses of red wine. Rachel Lubitz, CNN Underscored, "20 gifts the Capricorn in your life will love," 22 Dec. 2020 The fog appeared as a curtain around the character and didn’t just puff out of the stage’s trap door. Kenneth R. Gosselin, courant.com, "He’s applied for 52 jobs and had no second interviews, so Aaron Hochheiser is delivering for UPS in the family minivan after Hartford Stage closed," 20 Dec. 2020 Jordan Samuel’s eye gel is very light, odorless, and helps de-puff my eyes. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "The 17 Best Beauty Products of 2020, According to Fashion’s Top Hairstylists, Makeup Artists, and More," 7 Dec. 2020 Your belly may puff out after lunch every once in a while, or out of nowhere, your tummy feels full or tight. Erica Sweeney, Good Housekeeping, "Why Am I Always Bloated? 10 Reasons Your Belly Feels Swollen and Inflated," 28 Nov. 2020 Told him to raise his eyebrows and puff his cheeks. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Not many know the story behind Sam Fraley’s path to Temple football. Turns out, he’s just like his father.," 6 Nov. 2020 That doesn’t happen without Power Five muscle and powder-puff non-conference schedules. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "With Notre Dame next, U of L's Satterfield sounds resigned to long rebuild," 15 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Oseree is one label that is nothing short of a good time, boasting elegant one-pieces and bikinis made with contrasting shimmer piping, pearl details, large puff sleeves, and rhinestone fringes. Taylor Ayers, Marie Claire, "The Best New Swimwear of Summer 2021," 9 Feb. 2021 Available in everything from dresses to jumpsuits and even knits, puff sleeves are more interesting than a standard short sleeve—the style is fun and feminine without being too over the top. Marykate Boylan, Town & Country, "The Best 80s Trends Making a Comeback Now," 27 Jan. 2021 My humble advice to anyone who likes snow: get out and play in it soon, because weather models consistently bring a puff of milder, Pacific air into Minnesota by the end of January and first few days of February. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Still On Track for Plowable 3-6+" PM Hours Tomorrow," 22 Jan. 2021 Pop the lid off, watch that little puff of steam rise skyward, and cook the loaf uncovered in your oven for the last 10 minutes as the crust becomes a beautiful golden brown. Joe Ray, Wired, "This $40 Cast-Iron Pot Is the Secret to Baking a Perfect Loaf," 3 Jan. 2021 Think of this as the more eccentric cousin to the puff sleeve. Marykate Boylan, Town & Country, "The Best 80s Trends Making a Comeback Now," 27 Jan. 2021 Bake for 14 to 18 minutes, rotating the pan after 7 minutes, until the madeleines are golden brown and the middles puff. Nicole Hvidsten, Star Tribune, "Cornbread provides Southern comfort during Northern winters," 20 Jan. 2021 Then, before adding the top pieces of puff, brush this border with a tiny bit of water. chicagotribune.com, "The Kitchn: Bacon, egg and cheese hand pies are even better than the classic sandwich," 29 Dec. 2020 Fill each puff completely with ganache from the piping bag. Serve the same day. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Ring in 2021 with a European flair," 29 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective This super-puff exoplanet, known as WASP-107b, is about the same size as Jupiter, but only about one-tenth the mass — or about 30 times more massive than Earth. Star Tribune, "Quiet And Cool Start To The Week - January Temp-wise Is Still Above Average," 24 Jan. 2021

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a(1)


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for puff


Middle English, from Old English pyffan, of imitative origin

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Time Traveler for puff

Time Traveler

The first known use of puff was before the 12th century

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Statistics for puff

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Puff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puff. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for puff



English Language Learners Definition of puff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to breathe smoke from a cigarette, pipe, etc., in and out of the lungs
: to produce or send out small clouds of smoke or steam
: to move in a particular direction while producing clouds of steam or smoke



English Language Learners Definition of puff (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of breathing something (such as smoke or medicine) into your lungs
: a movement of gas, smoke, or air that can be seen or felt
: a light, round pastry that contains a sweet filling


\ ˈpəf How to pronounce puff (audio) \
puffed; puffing

Kids Definition of puff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to breathe hard : pant
2 : to send out small whiffs or clouds (as of smoke)
3 : to swell up or become swollen with or as if with air The injured eye puffed up. I puffed out my cheeks.



Kids Definition of puff (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a quick short instance of sending or letting out air, smoke, or steam We could see puffs from a locomotive.
2 : a slight swelling
3 : a soft pad for putting powder on the skin
4 : a light pastry
\ ˈpəf How to pronounce puff (audio) \

Medical Definition of puff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to become distended : swell usually used with up
2 : to form a chromosomal puff



Medical Definition of puff (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : windgall
2 : an enlarged region of a chromosome that is associated with intensely active genes involved in RNA synthesis

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Legal Definition of puff

1 : an act or instance of puffing
2 : a statement that amounts to puffing whether the seller's statement was a “puff” or an express warranty— J. J. White and R. S. Summers

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More from Merriam-Webster on puff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puff

Nglish: Translation of puff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puff for Arabic Speakers

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