\ˈtəft \

Definition of tuft 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small cluster of elongated flexible outgrowths attached or close together at the base and free at the opposite ends especially : a growing bunch of grasses or close-set plants

b : a bunch of soft fluffy threads cut off short and used as ornament

2 : clump, cluster

3 : mound

4 : any of the projections of yarns drawn through a fabric or making up a fabric so as to produce a surface of raised loops or cut pile


tufted; tufting; tufts

Definition of tuft (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to provide or adorn with a tuft

b : to make (a fabric) of or with tufts

2 : to make (something, such as a mattress) firm by stitching at intervals and covering the depressions produced on the surface with tufts

intransitive verb

: to form into or grow in tufts

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Other Words from tuft


tufted \ˈtəf-təd \ adjective
tufty \ˈtəf-tē \ adjective


tufter noun

Examples of tuft in a Sentence


A tuft of hair stuck out from under his hat.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Waves crash on the sand below us, and the setting sun casts a broad sweep of light above the silvery Pacific, where tufts of fog hover on the horizon. Jeanne Cooper, SFChronicle.com, "Where to watch the sunset with a cocktail around Half Moon Bay," 11 July 2018 These tufts come from individual white cat hairs, glued into distinct seeds, then arranged together into a globe. Michael Tortorello, New York Times, "A Lifelike Version of Nature, but Not to Scale," 8 May 2018 Butterfly Bush Doesn't Really Benefit Butterflies There's no denying that butterfly bush's long, narrow tufts of flowers are beautiful. Leah Zerbe, Good Housekeeping, "3 Reasons To Never Plant Butterfly Bush Again," 27 Feb. 2017 For those who haven't, a tussock is a small, compact tuft of grass that covers huge areas of the tundra, often in wetland environments. Holly Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "When the Brooks family ventured to the Brooks Range for a summer adventure, winter reared its head," 1 July 2018 There are many different species, but hollow-stemmed Joe Pye has seriously statuesque height (almost 8 feet) coupled with the genus’s big tufts of pink-purple flowers. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "15 Native Wildflowers Every Gardener Should Plant," 5 May 2017 His shock of white hair burst out in tufts from a black skullcap adorned with rhinestones and sequins from every hue of a neon-colored rainbow, his protruding belly covered by a mustard-yellow tunic. New York Times, "The Personal Wake-Up Call to Prayers, a Ramadan Tradition, Is Endangered," 13 June 2018 The heads and upper bodies of two performers disappeared under a large red cloth with black tufts of fur and a fierce, elaborate mask. Emily Williams, BostonGlobe.com, "Crowd swarms lion dance at Chinatown festival," 7 July 2018 But look southward from this point only a few steps from the rush of North Avenue, toward the Lincoln Park Whole Foods store, and the river is alive with floating tufts of greenery. Patrick M. O'connell, chicagotribune.com, "A 'wild mile' on the Chicago River? It might be closer than you think," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Be sure to have your binoculars handy to zoom in on the red tufted beauties. Tiffany Thornton, USA TODAY, "Geodesic domes bring nature’s beauty indoors," 21 June 2018 The digs are cozily romantic, from the barrel room’s chandeliers to the speakeasy-esque tasting room’s floral wallpaper and tufted banquette. BostonGlobe.com, "30 great dates in Boston and beyond," 22 Mar. 2018 Yet the hand-tufted, looped pile makes for a soft, plush feeling underfoot. Kim Cook, The Seattle Times, "How to bring indoor style to your outdoor entertaining," 26 June 2018 Patrons sit on tufted-cushion bar stools supported by an imposing bird’s claws grasping a brass ball. Brady Macdonald, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Raised by Wolves brings hidden bar concept to suburban mall," 11 May 2018 The hotel’s feminine feel comes from curvy wing chairs, plump ottomans and button-tufted booths. Valli Herman, latimes.com, "The subtle ways the Hotel Figueroa's redesign is a tribute to women," 10 Mar. 2018 With over 94,000 likes and 11 million views, Goober, and his pals Mickey in a teal blue tufted back armchair, and Tango, with his red chair with tall arms, are featured in an 10 second video that has gone viral. Christina Lords, idahostatesman, "West Valley Humane Society seeks armchair donations for doggos after seeing viral video | Idaho Statesman," 7 Mar. 2018 Cavity nesters like Eastern bluebirds, Carolina chickadees and tufted titmice already know where the boxes are. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Watch for the annual visit by red-winged blackbirds | Charlotte Observer," 16 Feb. 2018 Simon & the Whale, with 76 seats and some outdoor tables to come, has an Arts and Crafts look from the designers, Roman & Williams, with Japanese Iroko wood, iridescent teal tiles, green tufted upholstery and brass piping. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, "Simon & the Whale Opens in the Freehand New York," 30 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tuft.' 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 tuft


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for tuft


Middle English, modification of Middle French touffe, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German zopf tip — more at top entry 1

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Statistics for tuft

Last Updated

23 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for tuft

The first known use of tuft was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for tuft



English Language Learners Definition of tuft

: a small bunch of feathers, hairs, grass, etc., that grow close together


\ˈtəft \

Kids Definition of tuft

1 : a small bunch of long flexible things (as hairs or blades of grass) growing close together

Other Words from tuft

tufted adjective


\ˈtəft \

Medical Definition of tuft 

1 : a small cluster of elongated flexible outgrowths or parts attached or close together at the base and free at the opposite ends especially : a small bunch of hairs on the body

2 : a branching anatomical structure that resembles a tuft

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Comments on tuft

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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