Share this entry

Share this page

tuft

Syllabification: tuft
Pronunciation: /təft
 
/

Definition of tuft in English:

noun

1A bunch or collection of something, typically threads, grass, or hair, held or growing together at the base: scrubby tufts of grass
More example sentences
  • Jake collapsed into a heap in the grass under the willow and started bawling, grabbing a few tufts of crinkly brown grass and tearing them out by the roots.
  • At fifty-nine, he was mostly bald, though a few white tufts of hair grew right behind his ears.
  • He had fluffy tufts of black hair and an infectious smile.
Synonyms
clump, bunch, knot, cluster, tussock, tuffet;
lock, wisp;
crest, topknot;
1.1 Anatomy & Zoology A bunch of small blood vessels, respiratory tentacles, or other small anatomical structures.
Example sentences
  • A 19-year-old, healthy man visited a plastic surgeon because of a cutaneous nodule on the distal tuft of his left index finger.
  • Polymorphonuclear leukocyte infiltrates were present in the glomerular tufts, and many glomeruli displayed segmental necrosis.
  • The glomerular tufts were shrunken or necrotic and renal medullary rays were congested.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
1 (usually be tufted) Provide (something) with a tuft or tufts.
Example sentences
  • Despite the obvious problems, the company has been preparing for growth and total employee numbers increased by 26 to 794 last year, mainly at the spinning and tufting factories.
  • After establishing his home town as an international leader in carpet tufting machinery, he hit on the idea for his ‘wonder net’ after watching potatoes being mashed.
  • Well-known for its patterned Axminster carpets, the company's new range of plain coloured woven and tufted carpets gained an ‘outstanding reaction’ from the trade, according to a spokesman.
2 Needlework Make depressions at regular intervals in (a mattress or cushion) by passing a thread through it.
Example sentences
  • Furniture makers noticed that tufted upholstery furthered the chair owner's sense of luxury.
  • To evoke the enfilade, two long galleries were divided into rows of rooms, the doors between them fixed open, their interiors cosseted by paneled wainscoting, velvet walls and tufted furniture.
  • This cylindrical, tufted pillow would fit in perfectly with a formal living room with heavy drapes, deep sofas, and perhaps a Bichon Frise curled up on the ottoman.

Origin

late Middle English: probably from Old French tofe, of unknown origin. The final -t is typical of phonetic confusion between -f and -ft at the end of words; compare with graft1.

More
  • toff from (mid 19th century):

    This is perhaps an alteration of tuft, once a term for titled undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge, who wore a gold tassel on their caps—social climbers and toadies were called tuft-hunters from the mid 18th century. The associations of the word may have influenced toffee-nosed or ‘snobbish’, which was originally military slang. Toffee seems to have been a desirable commodity to soldiers during the First World War— not be able to do something for toffee, or be totally incompetent at it, is first recorded in 1914 in the mouth of a British ‘Tommy’. Toffee (early 19th century) is an alteration of taffy (early 19th century), now mainly used in North America for a sweet resembling toffee. The Taffy that is a name for a Welshman is quite different, representing a supposed Welsh pronunciation of the name David or Dafydd.

Derivatives

tufty

1
adjective
Example sentences
  • Sure enough, there was Billy, all 5ft 7in of him, with his undeniably pixie-esque features and tufty hair.
  • At the moment many of them are sporting tufty, patchwork haircuts.
  • He had short brown hair that was tufty and untidy on top.

Words that rhyme with tuft

unstuffed

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day Noel
Pronunciation: nəʊˈɛl
noun
Christmas…