\ 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 The drug stopped the pain, but also served to puff Keenan's body up a bit. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, "'We failed to look out for each other': Maynard James Keenan on the days of wine and COVID," 19 Mar. 2021 The magic of Viennese schnitzel is in the way the cook coaxes the crust to puff away from the meat, a process known as soufflieren in German. New York Times, "For Perfectly Light Schnitzel, Do This," 8 Mar. 2021 In the dry, hot heat of the oven, the chunks of potato puff out a little. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "All hail the mighty potato! No, really," 23 Mar. 2021 At the end of their lifetimes, stars up to 10 times more massive than our Sun puff up and shed their outer layers. Adam Mann, Science | AAAS, "Some dead stars may harbor enough uranium to set off a thermonuclear bomb," 18 Mar. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This midi dress by Fourteenth Place is made of a sweet baby blue white stripe fabric, with puff sleeves and flowy skirt for a number that’s recommended by Noël herself and is just as versatile as our other favorite nap dresses. Kiana Murden, CNN Underscored, "30 of our favorite fashion finds under $100 at Nordstrom right now," 2 Apr. 2021 While a house dress usually consists of a breezy fabric and a silhouette that’s easy to move around in, the puff elevates it to something special. Marie Lodi, Glamour, "5 ‘Bridgerton’ Fashion Trends You Can Actually Wear in 2021," 24 Mar. 2021 The key is finding something that's polished yet comfortable, like this puff sleeve blouse with nearly 8,000 reviews on Amazon or this breezy button-down from H&M. Amanda Tarlton, USA TODAY, "A year of pandemic dressing: 8 ways our style changed in quarantine," 10 Mar. 2021 The major parties could go with a papal-like process — is that a white puff of smoke over Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines? Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada... Why all the fuss about who votes first for president?," 23 Mar. 2021 Each Ultra 7 Brightening Foundation Cushion comes with a buildable liquid formula and a tan-colored puff with Dr. GIO printed in all caps on a beige sash. Gabi Thorne, Allure, "Meet the Black-Owned Brand Making K-Beauty Products More Inclusive for Deep Skin Tones," 14 Mar. 2021 For that, Lee inserts a segment of plastic tubing into the frog’s mouth and blows into the other end, transferring a teeny puff of air from his human lungs into the frog’s much smaller ones. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, "How Female Frogs Tune Out Useless, Noisy Males," 4 Mar. 2021 The actress also showcased puff-sleeves, lace collars, corset dresses, and pastels in the campaign. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Phoebe Dynevor Lands A Bridgerton-Like Campaign," 24 Feb. 2021 For those not acclimated to the altitude, the trip back, though a steady grade, is a huff-and-a-puff. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Top 5 snow treks in the Sierra near Tahoe and Yosemite," 4 Feb. 2021 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

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Puff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puff. Accessed 12 Apr. 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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