\ 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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Aluminum foil may be used in place of parchment, but parchment creates an elegant presentation and can even puff up while cooking. Navpreet Dhillon, Sunset Magazine, 17 Mar. 2022 After all, the beloved device is designed to puff plumes of hydrating mist into the air, which can relieve dry skin, congestion, and sore throats. Amy Schulman, PEOPLE.com, 11 Mar. 2022 Powder has the leavening power to puff all on its own. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appétit, 18 Feb. 2022 His body, in this case, seemed truly to puff up and grow bigger. Ben Brantley, New York Times, 6 Dec. 2021 Beyond the labyrinth of narrow streets of the center are the chimney stacks of housing developments that still puff coal and peat. Kara Fox, CNN, 23 Jan. 2022 Jil Sander and Proenza Schouler are incorporating them into trousers and slip dresses, while Christopher John Rogers and Gucci produced show-stopping dresses and coats that puff out beyond three dimensions. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 7 Jan. 2022 There is so much for the Aztecs to puff chests about this season, starting with consensus All-America punter Matt Araiza. Bryce Miller Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Dec. 2021 There's little to huff and puff about on the mostly level ride with some fun ups and downs and no leg burning climbs. Flip Putthoff, Arkansas Online, 21 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Dresses head-to-toe in black, Hudgens's Moschino dress showed off the versatility of this season's sheer fabric trend in a high-necked dress with strategic lace details at the bodice, puff-shoulder sleeves, and a flowing train. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 2 May 2022 But whereas Android phones would run out of puff quickly or occasionally moan about getting too hot, the 13 Pro just ticked along nicely. Yoni Heisler, BGR, 15 Mar. 2022 Wearing a long-sleeve white shirt with a sleeveless ivory puff vest on top, the Hustlers actor is the de facto cool mom. Alexis Gaskin, Glamour, 29 Apr. 2022 The district’s rule book stated that boys couldn’t wear their hair in a ponytail, a puff ball or generally longer than their collar. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2022 The lace patchwork and loose puff sleeves work with practically any outfit, but shoppers especially love to throw it over a bathing suit thanks to the open front face. Nicol Natale, PEOPLE.com, 6 Apr. 2022 In honor of this year's ceremony, Kelly wore a metallic lavender gown with puff sleeves and tiered frills. Katherine Tinsley, Good Housekeeping, 31 Mar. 2022 The line also incorporates cutouts, rings, and puff sleeves, as well as some of Eloquii’s best-selling brand signature colors and designs. Emerald Elitou, Essence, 25 Mar. 2022 Romantic dress details like smocking, puff sleeves, and bow ties feel incredibly fresh in a pastel floral palette for wedding parties. Laura Lajiness Kaupke, Vogue, 20 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Apply the anti-puff serum with the metal roller ball and get ready to reap all of the cooling, calming, and rejuvenating benefits. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 24 May 2021 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, 24 Jan. 2021 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near puff

Puerto Rico Trench


puff adder

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Last Updated

26 Mar 2022

Cite this Entry

“Puff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puff. Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for puff


\ 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


intransitive verb
\ 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



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

More from Merriam-Webster on puff

Nglish: Translation of puff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puff for Arabic Speakers


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