Word of the Day : August 1, 2013


noun BAH-fin


: a scientific expert; especially : one involved in technological research

Did You Know?

"Boffin" is an informal word that is more common in the U.K. than in the U.S. It is a relative newcomer to the English language, only appearing toward the end of World War II. Despite its youth, however, the origins of "boffin" are a mystery to us. The term was probably first applied by British Royal Air Force members to the scientists and engineers working closely with radar technology. The term was soon being more broadly applied to scientists involved in technological research. British speakers also use "boffin" colloquially to refer to academics or intellectuals in general, often in a manner that is synonymous with "nerd" or "egghead."


The auto manufacturer's boffins have become a driving force in reshaping the company's product line.

“Unlike 'innovation,' invention has escaped being stereotyped by management theorists, and still conjures cheerful images of idealistic boffins and amateur inventors showing off their contraptions at Maker Faires.” - From an article by Alice Rawsthorn in The New York Times, April 22, 2013

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "vouchsafe," our Word of the Day from July 3? The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!