WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
puff /pʌf/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. a short, quick blast of air, smoke, vapor, etc.
  2. the sound made in giving off such a short blast of air, vapor, smoke, etc.
  3. an act of inhaling and exhaling, as on a cigarette or pipe.
  4. Fooda ball of light pastry baked and filled with whipped cream, jam, etc.:a cream puff.
  5. a flattering review, as of a book or an actor's performance.

v. 
  1. [no object] to blow with short, quick blasts, as the wind.
  2. to (cause to) be let out or given out in a puff: [+ object]He puffed a cloud of pipe smoke.[no object]puffing on a cigar.
  3. [no object] to give out a puff or puffs of air;
    breathe quickly and with difficulty.
  4. to go or move with puffing or puffs:[no object]The train puffed into the station.
  5. to (cause to) become inflated or swollen, or to stand out: [no object;  (~ + up)]Her face puffed up in reaction to the poison ivy.[+ object]She puffed her cheeks in thought.[+ up + object]The bird puffed up its feathers.
  6. to make fluffy;
    fluff: [+ up + object]to puff up a pillow.[+ object + up]to puff it up.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
puff  (puf ),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. a short, quick blast, as of wind or breath.
  2. an abrupt emission of air, smoke, vapor, etc.
  3. an act of inhaling and exhaling, as on a cigarette or pipe;
    whiff.
  4. the sound of an abrupt emission of air, vapor, etc.
  5. a small quantity of vapor, smoke, etc., emitted at one blast.
  6. an inflated or distended part of a thing;
    swelling;
    protuberance.
  7. Fooda form of light pastry with a filling of cream, jam, or the like.
  8. Clothinga portion of material gathered and held down at the edges but left full in the middle, as on a sleeve.
  9. Clothinga cylindrical roll of hair.
  10. Clothing, Textilesa quilted bed covering, usually filled with down.
  11. a commendation, esp. an exaggerated one, of a book, an actor's performance, etc.
  12. See  powder puff. 
  13. a ball or pad of soft material.
  14. puffball.
  15. British Terms[Chiefly Brit. Slang.]a male homosexual.

v.i. 
  1. to blow with short, quick blasts, as the wind.
  2. to be emitted in a puff.
  3. to emit a puff or puffs;
    breathe quick and hard, as after violent exertion.
  4. to go with puffing or panting.
  5. to emit puffs or whiffs of vapor or smoke.
  6. to move with such puffs:The locomotive puffed into the station.
  7. to take puffs at a cigar, cigarette, etc.
  8. to become inflated, distended, or swollen (usually fol. by up).
  9. Business(esp. of an auctioneer's accomplice) to bid on an item at an auction solely to increase the price that the final bidder must pay.

v.t. 
  1. to send forth (air, vapor, etc.) in short, quick blasts.
  2. to drive or impel by puffing, or with a short, quick blast.
  3. to extinguish by means of a puff (usually fol. by out):to puff a match out.
  4. to smoke (a cigar, cigarette, etc.).
  5. to inflate, distend, or swell, esp. with air.
  6. to make fluffy;
    fluff (often fol. by up):to puff up a pillow.
  7. to inflate with pride, vanity, etc. (often fol. by up):Their applause puffed him up.
  8. to praise unduly or with exaggeration.
  9. to apply powder to (the cheeks, neck, etc.) with a powder puff.
  10. to apply (powder) with a powder puff.
  11. to arrange in puffs, as the hair.
puffing•ly, adv. 
  • 1175–1225; (verb, verbal) Middle English puffen (compare Middle Dutch puffen, Low German pof, puf ); (noun, nominal) Middle English puf, puffe; of imitative origin, originally
    • 11.See corresponding entry in Unabridged overpraise, exaggeration, puffery, flattery.


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

puff /pʌf/ n
  1. a short quick draught, gust, or emission, as of wind, smoke, air, etc, esp a forceful one
  2. the amount of wind, smoke, etc, released in a puff
  3. the sound made by or associated with a puff
  4. an instance of inhaling and expelling the breath as in smoking
  5. a light aerated pastry usually filled with cream, jam, etc
  6. a powder puff
  7. exaggerated praise, as of a book, product, etc, esp through an advertisement
  8. a piece of clothing fabric gathered up so as to bulge in the centre while being held together at the edges
  9. a loose piece of hair wound into a cylindrical roll, usually over a pad, and pinned in place in a coiffure
  10. one's breath (esp in the phrase out of puff)
  11. derogatory slang a male homosexual
vb
  1. to blow or breathe or cause to blow or breathe in short quick draughts or blasts
  2. (tr; often followed by out; usually passive) to cause to be out of breath
  3. to take puffs or draws at (a cigarette, cigar, or pipe)
  4. to move with or by the emission of puffs: the steam train puffed up the incline
  5. often followed by up, out, etc: to swell, as with air, pride, etc
  6. (transitive) to praise with exaggerated empty words, often in advertising
  7. (transitive) to apply (cosmetic powder) from a powder puff to (the face)
Etymology: Old English pyffan; related to Dutch German puffen, Swiss pfuffen, Norwegian puffa, all of imitative origin



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