\ 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
(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 But the rice is the key, and each grain was glowing with spice and puffed up like risotto on steroids. Mike Sutter, ExpressNews.com, "3 San Antonio restaurant takeout stars: Toro Kitchen + Bar, Tong’s Thai and Benjie’s Munch offering strong options during the coronavirus crisis," 30 Apr. 2020 Just one small squeeze will boost circulation and noticeably de-puff the eyes. Hillary Maglin, Travel + Leisure, "13 Hydrating Eye Creams to Get Your Skin Through Quarantine," 26 Apr. 2020 Beholden more to our beliefs and chest-puffing stubbornness than to empathy, science and common sense. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Here's the one thing you're not hearing about MLB's plan to play games," 7 May 2020 Later, Francie acquires a baby sister and (after Johnny’s tragic-but-inevitable death, huddled gracelessly in a doorway) a stepfather, the pipe-puffing, gentle-giant police sergeant Michael McShane. Allie Spensley, WSJ, "A Tale of Roots and Resilience," 5 Oct. 2018 Huffing and puffing for paczki Fat Tuesday, better known in these parts as Paczki Day, arrives next week, but Hamtramck can’t wait that long to start celebrating those sweet orbs of sugar and fat. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Cool things to do this weekend: Martin Lawrence, Paczki Run, Wine & Beer Festival," 19 Feb. 2020 The chance for mistakes increases if one’s huffing and puffing in the fourth quarter. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Fall is in the air as Pasadena ISD’s football camps get to work in an urgent way," 7 Aug. 2019 Steam until the buns are puffed and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Los Angeles Times, "You don’t even need an oven to make the simplest homemade bread," 4 Apr. 2020 At a time of year when baseball should be puffing its lungs, Al Kaline gave his last breath. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Al Kaline takes his bow. His legend will live forever.," 7 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Unlike every other influencer on your feed, Tana didn't opt for a puff-sleeve Reformation dress. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Tana Mongeau Wore a See-Through Floral Bustier for Easter and Girl, It’s a VIBE," 13 Apr. 2020 Well, thanks to the streaming revolution, your TV is flooded with music documentaries ranging from fascinating, in-depth profiles to flimsy puff pieces. Dallas News, "9 music documentaries to stream from quarantine, ranked," 19 Mar. 2020 No more propaganda recruiting puff pieces by HBO and ESPN. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Nick Saban’s stockpile of former head coaches the stuff of great reality TV," 20 Feb. 2020 Computer logic in the blower sends puffs of air into the mask timed to the user’s breathing patterns. Matthew Putman, STAT, "The U.S. needs to make more CPAP machines. Our supply chain is blocking that," 1 May 2020 Although physicians can use a test in which a puff of air is blown into your eye for screening, official diagnosis requires a dilated exam to scrutinize the optic nerve as well as other tests. Kaitlyn Pirie, Good Housekeeping, "8 Common Vision Issues and What to Do About Them, According to Eye Doctors," 2 Apr. 2020 Nothing could be more vital for CNN viewers and readers than to ponder a ranking of all the Democratic contenders based on little more than white puffs of smoke. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "The Political Media’s Blurred Reality," 12 Mar. 2020 Michael Chock, Fyllo’s chief operating officer, exhales after a particularly athletic puff of a weedy vape pen and takes in the scene. Richard Morgan, Fortune, "This Startup Wants to Be the PayPal of Weed," 24 Nov. 2019 The thought quiet as a puff of steam from a boiling pot. Lily Meyer, The Atlantic, "Rewriting the ‘Boy Genius’," 1 Sep. 2019

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

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Puff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puff. Accessed 7 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for puff


How to pronounce puff (audio)

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)

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with puff

Spanish Central: Translation of puff

Nglish: Translation of puff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puff for Arabic Speakers

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