There are 5 main definitions of duff in English:

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duff1

Syllabification: duff
Pronunciation: /dəf
 
/

noun

[usually with modifier]
A flour pudding boiled or steamed in a cloth bag: a currant duff
More example sentences
  • Dinner might be a roast with potatoes and onions, with a duff for pudding.

Origin

mid 19th century: northern English form of dough.

More
  • People have obviously long found the sound of duff expressive, and it has a wide variety of uses. One of them begins with duffer ‘a useless person or thing’. This is recorded from the mid 19th century and may be an alteration of dowfart, an old Scottish term meaning ‘a stupid person’, from dowf ‘spiritless’. Golfers shortened duffer to duff in the early 19th century and used it to mean ‘to mishit a shot or ball’, which spread into the wider community as ‘to make a mess of something, bungle’. This duff may be the source of duff ‘of poor quality, worthless’, or may link to another set of words, also going back to a duffer. In this sense duffer appeared in the mid 18th century as thieves' slang for a person who sells worthless articles and passes them off as valuable. The origin is unknown, but it seems to have travelled to Australia and reappeared in the mid 19th century as ‘a cattle rustler’. The phrase up the duff ‘pregnant’ may be related: it shares the Australian connections, as it is first recorded in Australia in the mid 20th century. The violent duff, as in to duff someone up, is recorded from the 1960s and may also be connected, though this is less likely. Everything about duff is hedged about with uncertainty, and the only duff whose history is known for certain is that of plum duff, a northern English dialect form of dough.

Words that rhyme with duff

bluff, buff, chough, chuff, cuff, enough, fluff, gruff, guff, huff, luff, muff, puff, rough, ruff, scruff, scuff, slough, snuff, stuff, Tough, tuff

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There are 5 main definitions of duff in English:

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duff2

Syllabification: duff
Pronunciation: /
 
dəf/

noun

North American & Scottish
1Decaying vegetable matter covering the ground under trees.
Example sentences
  • It's about 60 years since this area has burned, and duff is all that stuff that collects for years.
  • In 1967 a wildfire there burned a virgin stand of larch, Douglas-fir, and lodgepole pine, killing mature trees and burning the duff to the mineral soil.
  • The forest floor on my land, with its dense layer of needles and duff, burned hotter and harder than the grassy savanna.
2 Mining Coal dust; dross.

adjective

British informal Back to top  
1Of very poor quality: duff lyrics
More example sentences
  • There isn't a duff track, and while those lyrics are often too clever for their own good, the accompanying tunes usually make up for that.
  • Gradually she realised that, in the scale of things, picking a duff outfit wasn't so terrible.
  • Although deep down we all know that rugby, like football, is just a game, it's still a form of entertainment and if your favourite rock group starts playing duff songs you stop going.
1.1Incorrect or false: she played a couple of duff notes
More example sentences
  • You see a note on one of the five lines, forget the key signature at the beginning of the line, play it standard rather than as a sharp and end up with one of those horrible duff notes that means you have to stop playing and start from scratch.
  • He never hit a duff note, running through Road To Mandalay, Eternity, She's The One and Millennium.
  • I was thoroughly captivated by the piano concerto, even though I am sure I heard a couple of duff notes.

Origin

late 18th century (denoting something worthless): of unknown origin.

More
  • People have obviously long found the sound of duff expressive, and it has a wide variety of uses. One of them begins with duffer ‘a useless person or thing’. This is recorded from the mid 19th century and may be an alteration of dowfart, an old Scottish term meaning ‘a stupid person’, from dowf ‘spiritless’. Golfers shortened duffer to duff in the early 19th century and used it to mean ‘to mishit a shot or ball’, which spread into the wider community as ‘to make a mess of something, bungle’. This duff may be the source of duff ‘of poor quality, worthless’, or may link to another set of words, also going back to a duffer. In this sense duffer appeared in the mid 18th century as thieves' slang for a person who sells worthless articles and passes them off as valuable. The origin is unknown, but it seems to have travelled to Australia and reappeared in the mid 19th century as ‘a cattle rustler’. The phrase up the duff ‘pregnant’ may be related: it shares the Australian connections, as it is first recorded in Australia in the mid 20th century. The violent duff, as in to duff someone up, is recorded from the 1960s and may also be connected, though this is less likely. Everything about duff is hedged about with uncertainty, and the only duff whose history is known for certain is that of plum duff, a northern English dialect form of dough.

Definition of duff in:

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There are 5 main definitions of duff in English:

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duff3

Syllabification: duff
Pronunciation: /
 
dəf/

verb

[with object] British informal
1 (duff someone up) Beat someone up.
Example sentences
  • Last time we met, I kept thumping her on the leg as a way demonstrating my affection and she duffed me up.
  • What was he going to do, duff me up on the street in front of dozens of people?
  • He insists on sitting on the mat where the door might slam on him, and on challenging the same old bruiser of a female four doors down, who duffs him up every time, leaving him cut and scabby.
2 Golf Mishit (a shot).
Example sentences
  • It looks as if your ball is just sitting up, but you have got to be careful when you take a big swing because your feet move and you can duff your shot entirely.
  • He proceeded to duff his next two shots and was 150 yards out when he hit his 4th shot into the hole for a birdie four.
  • I'd probably duff my first tee shot at the Masters, but I wouldn't walk away from a challenge.

Origin

early 19th century: of uncertain origin; (sense 2) is probably a back-formation from duffer1.

More
  • People have obviously long found the sound of duff expressive, and it has a wide variety of uses. One of them begins with duffer ‘a useless person or thing’. This is recorded from the mid 19th century and may be an alteration of dowfart, an old Scottish term meaning ‘a stupid person’, from dowf ‘spiritless’. Golfers shortened duffer to duff in the early 19th century and used it to mean ‘to mishit a shot or ball’, which spread into the wider community as ‘to make a mess of something, bungle’. This duff may be the source of duff ‘of poor quality, worthless’, or may link to another set of words, also going back to a duffer. In this sense duffer appeared in the mid 18th century as thieves' slang for a person who sells worthless articles and passes them off as valuable. The origin is unknown, but it seems to have travelled to Australia and reappeared in the mid 19th century as ‘a cattle rustler’. The phrase up the duff ‘pregnant’ may be related: it shares the Australian connections, as it is first recorded in Australia in the mid 20th century. The violent duff, as in to duff someone up, is recorded from the 1960s and may also be connected, though this is less likely. Everything about duff is hedged about with uncertainty, and the only duff whose history is known for certain is that of plum duff, a northern English dialect form of dough.

Definition of duff in:

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There are 5 main definitions of duff in English:

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duff4

Syllabification: duff
Pronunciation: /
 
dəf/

noun

North American informal
A person’s buttocks: I did not get where I am today by sitting on my duff
More example sentences
  • A lifetime of sitting on my duff in front of a computer while wolfing down fast food and snacks fried in lesser snacks has made me too weak and lazy to get up and start any sort of effective protest or take any productive action.
  • Another two employees were sitting on their duffs on chairs, also doing nothing, though they were apparently stationed where they were stationed for a reason.
  • In other words, instead of focusing on the obvious and most media-friendly candidates, let's get off our duffs and not become the branding arm for celebrities, whether journalists or not.

Origin

mid 19th century: of unknown origin.

More
  • People have obviously long found the sound of duff expressive, and it has a wide variety of uses. One of them begins with duffer ‘a useless person or thing’. This is recorded from the mid 19th century and may be an alteration of dowfart, an old Scottish term meaning ‘a stupid person’, from dowf ‘spiritless’. Golfers shortened duffer to duff in the early 19th century and used it to mean ‘to mishit a shot or ball’, which spread into the wider community as ‘to make a mess of something, bungle’. This duff may be the source of duff ‘of poor quality, worthless’, or may link to another set of words, also going back to a duffer. In this sense duffer appeared in the mid 18th century as thieves' slang for a person who sells worthless articles and passes them off as valuable. The origin is unknown, but it seems to have travelled to Australia and reappeared in the mid 19th century as ‘a cattle rustler’. The phrase up the duff ‘pregnant’ may be related: it shares the Australian connections, as it is first recorded in Australia in the mid 20th century. The violent duff, as in to duff someone up, is recorded from the 1960s and may also be connected, though this is less likely. Everything about duff is hedged about with uncertainty, and the only duff whose history is known for certain is that of plum duff, a northern English dialect form of dough.

Definition of duff in:

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There are 5 main definitions of duff in English:

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duff5

Line breaks: duff

Entry from British & World English dictionary

noun

(in phrase up the duff) British informal
Pregnant: it looks like he’s got her up the duff

Origin

1940s (originally Australian): perhaps related to duff1.

More
  • People have obviously long found the sound of duff expressive, and it has a wide variety of uses. One of them begins with duffer ‘a useless person or thing’. This is recorded from the mid 19th century and may be an alteration of dowfart, an old Scottish term meaning ‘a stupid person’, from dowf ‘spiritless’. Golfers shortened duffer to duff in the early 19th century and used it to mean ‘to mishit a shot or ball’, which spread into the wider community as ‘to make a mess of something, bungle’. This duff may be the source of duff ‘of poor quality, worthless’, or may link to another set of words, also going back to a duffer. In this sense duffer appeared in the mid 18th century as thieves' slang for a person who sells worthless articles and passes them off as valuable. The origin is unknown, but it seems to have travelled to Australia and reappeared in the mid 19th century as ‘a cattle rustler’. The phrase up the duff ‘pregnant’ may be related: it shares the Australian connections, as it is first recorded in Australia in the mid 20th century. The violent duff, as in to duff someone up, is recorded from the 1960s and may also be connected, though this is less likely. Everything about duff is hedged about with uncertainty, and the only duff whose history is known for certain is that of plum duff, a northern English dialect form of dough.

Definition of duff in:

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