puff

verb
\ ˈpəf \
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

puff

noun

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

puff

adjective

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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Other Words from puff

Noun

puffiness \ ˈpə-​fē-​nəs \ noun
puffy \ ˈpə-​fē \ adjective

Synonyms for puff

Synonyms: Verb

blow, gasp, heave, hyperventilate, pant, wheeze

Synonyms: Noun

air, breath, breeze, waft, zephyr

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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

Bake until puffed and golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes. Anna Helm Baxter, Country Living, "Cajun Sausage Puffs With Bourbon Mustard," 5 Nov. 2018 The 61-year-old author from St. Petersburg, Fla., got the idea for her novel during a game when a young player puffed up her chest and made a big bet against her. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "Researching Your Book? Hit the Casino," 5 Nov. 2018 No matter the weather, the outdoor tables are always packed with customers puffing away while chatting with friends or watching the world go by. Elena Berton, USA TODAY, "The French still love their cigarettes. But the once chic image is going up in smoke," 2 July 2018 His version uses brown rice syrup instead of refined sugar and puffed brown rice cereal in lieu of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. Julia Sherman, New York Times, "A Cookbook of Artists’ Creative Summer Desserts," 22 June 2018 The millet grains puffed up and became crunchy in the hot oil, providing a crisp contrast to the soft meat; tahini and tamarind dipping sauces added a juicy touch. Anissa Helou, Bon Appetit, "The Camel Trek: In Search of an Unexpected Delicacy," 4 May 2018 Brush with the egg and bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie," 3 Mar. 2014 Their courtship rituals can include preening, croaking, puffing, tail fanning and attack. William Booth, The Seattle Times, "The secrets of the royal ravenmaster at the Tower of London," 26 Oct. 2018 The fun of watching it puff out of the bottle into a white, airy cloud? Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Laneige's New Moisturizer Looks Like Whipped Cream for Your Face," 28 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With only the resources of an ordinary man, Gen. Flynn’s ability to defend himself and his family vanished in a puff of smoke. WSJ, "The Questionable Case Against Gen. Flynn," 17 Dec. 2018 While other cream puffs emphasize the puff, Nielsen’s potato is really about the cream. Megan Burbank, The Seattle Times, "For a sweet dose of hygge, try Nielsen’s Pastries in Lower Queen Anne," 11 Dec. 2018 For another runway look, Hadid wore a plaid outfit with mixed prints, an asymmetrical puff sleeve, and lace-up thigh-high boots. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Gigi Hadid Walk the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 9 Nov. 2018 Beauty influencer Jackie Aina wears her natural bronde curls in a puff. Kelsi Zimmerman, Allure, "21 Bronde Hair Ideas That Look Amazing on Everyone," 7 Oct. 2018 These would then collide with each other and vanish in a puff of gamma ray smoke. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gamma ray evidence for dark matter outshone by a flock of pulsars," 10 Aug. 2018 One of springtime’s earliest bloomers is Cornelian-cherry dogwood (Cornus mas), with puffs of bright yellow flowers on a rounded small tree. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Classic dogwood likely won't survive in Chicago yards, but others will," 4 Apr. 2018 Go, and try something new—or, in this case, something old: From 1908: Chestnut-Custard Pie To make thoroughly good puff paste wash one pound of butter in ice water. Marley Marius, Vogue, "7 Alternative Thanksgiving Desserts from the Vogue Archive," 16 Nov. 2018 One to two puffs was always enough to reduce my wheezing. Kate Gardner, SELF, "I Thought I Could Handle My Asthma Attacks, Until I Ended Up in the ER," 5 Sep. 2018

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

Verb

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

Noun

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

Adjective

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for puff

Verb

Middle English, from Old English pyffan, of imitative origin

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Statistics for puff

Last Updated

3 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for puff

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

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More Definitions for puff

puff

verb

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

puff

noun

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

puff

verb
\ ˈpəf \
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.

puff

noun

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 \

Medical Definition of puff 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

puff

noun

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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puff

noun

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with puff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puff

Spanish Central: Translation of puff

Nglish: Translation of puff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of puff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on puff

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