\ 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

blow, gasp, heave, hyperventilate, pant, wheeze

Synonyms: Noun

air, breath, breeze, waft, zephyr

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Examples of puff in a Sentence


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.


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 cookies are puffed and starting to lightly brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Grape Jamwiches," 23 Aug. 2019 To cook, microwave the papadums one at a time for 40-60 seconds until puffed and slightly browned. ExpressNews.com, "Recipe: Curry Gazpacho," 14 Aug. 2019 Bake, rotating positions of pans halfway through, until cookies are puffed and just set, 8 to 10 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Dark Chocolate Candy Cookies," 1 Aug. 2019 Bake in preheated oven until tarte is puffed and golden, about 30 minutes. Julia Levy, Health.com, "3 Healthy Recipes for Your Summer Tomatoes," 16 July 2019 Bake until the cakes are puffed and the centers jiggle only slightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Christopher Kimball, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: A hearty Father’s Day menu, starring steak," 12 June 2019 Transfer the baking sheet with the pie on it to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the edges are puffed and the center jiggles only slightly when shaken. Margaux Laskey, The Seattle Times, "Wrap up one of these sweet cookbooks for the home bakers in your life," 11 Dec. 2018 Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until egg muffins puff up. Nazima Qureshi, SELF, "Here's How a Registered Dietitian Meal Preps for Her Whole Family For a Week," 5 Aug. 2018 Dompen, which has headquarters in Los Angeles, makes a disposable pen for puffing on cannabis oil. Melia Russell, SFChronicle.com, "On a high: Outside Lands opens in San Francisco with legal pot," 9 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But after taking 16 three-second puffs, the participants had worse circulation, stiffer arteries, and less oxygen in their blood. Sara Harrison, WIRED, "Vaping May Harm Your Blood Flow—Even Without Nicotine," 20 Aug. 2019 The eats: Mochi egg puffs ($6) — crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside — are made fresh to order and served warm in flavors like chocolate, matcha and cinnamon, our personal fave. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "3 awesome new Bay Area tea houses," 12 Aug. 2019 This Nordy sale exclusive bundles the luxe beauty brand's most popular complexion-perfecting goods: a travel-sized trio of foundation primer, translucent setting powder with matching velour puff, and secret under-eye brightening powder. Elizabeth Buxton, refinery29.com, "The 29 Nordstrom Sale Finds Readers Are Obsessed With," 25 July 2019 On Mahila’s opening menu is a $12 dish of sardine puffs, doughy balls made with fish and tomatoes. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco’s new Malaysian restaurant, Mahila, is a chef’s ode to childhood and mamak culture," 13 June 2019 The mayonnaise puffs and sets in much the same way a béchamel would, fusing with the blue cheese, bubbling and browning on top while preserving the moisture of the luscious endive beneath. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, "Why Mayonnaise is Magic," 9 Nov. 2018 Brittainy Newman/The New York Times Molecular gastronomy’s contribution to summertime treats is instant ice cream, emerging, like magic, in a puff of smoke. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "New Nitrogen Ice Cream Shop Opens," 5 Aug. 2019 From the puff sleeves to the headband, Zendaya was a living, breathing Disney princess. Alison Caporimo, Seventeen, "A Detailed Timeline of Zendaya and Lindsay Lohan's Feud," 26 June 2019 Gyllenhaal emerged on the balcony in a puff of smoke crooning back to Corden. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and James Corden's 'Greatest Love of All' Whitney Houston Parody," 19 June 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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Statistics for puff

Last Updated

29 Aug 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



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

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

What made you want to look up puff? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


recurring in steady succession

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