There are 2 definitions of buffer in English:

buffer1

Line breaks: buf¦fer
Pronunciation: /ˈbʌfə
 
/

noun

  • 1A person or thing that reduces a shock or that forms a barrier between incompatible or antagonistic people or things: family and friends can provide a buffer against stress
    More example sentences
    • I believe that historical forces push us into conflict and without the law as a buffer between people, we would have a world of vendetta, a world of violence, a world of chaos.
    • Safety stock is used for the same reason as lead time - to provide a buffer of inventory to reduce the chance of a back order in the face of variability.
    • It can be a shield too, surely, a buffer between the committing of an act and its execution.
    Synonyms
    cushion, bulwark; shield, screen, barrier, guard, safeguard, hedge, shock absorber, armour; intermediary, middleman, go-between
  • 1.1 (buffers) British A pair of shock-absorbing pistons projecting from a cross-beam at the end of a railway track or on the front and rear of a railway vehicle.
    More example sentences
    • An investigation has been launched after three train carriages ran out of control before smashing through buffers and derailing yards from a busy line.
    • The brakes hiss and squeal as the carriages reach the buffers.
    • Fortunately, however, it fell short, and the buffers of the engine struck the other lip of the shaft with a tremendous crash.
  • 2 (also buffer solution) Chemistry A solution which resists changes in pH when acid or alkali is added to it.
    More example sentences
    • A spectral change was observed upon addition of lipid vesicles to the buffer solution of the sensitizers.
    • Chemical buffers can affect the uptake of macronutrients by reducing the pH gradient through the plasma membrane.
    • When cyanobacterial cells are immersed in buffers of high osmotic strength, phycobilisome diffusion is strongly inhibited.
  • 3 Computing A temporary memory area in which data is stored while it is being processed or transferred, especially one used while streaming video or downloading audio: print speed is boosted by pages being formatted in a buffer while another is printing
    More example sentences
    • First we create a buffer that is one byte bigger than the user string and fill it with zeros.
    • The data processing device may further include a write buffer for storing write data.
    • You can paste the text in your copy buffer into the active window with Ctrl-A.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Lessen or moderate the impact of (something): the massage helped to buffer the strain
    More example sentences
    • Among family members, social support can help buffer the negative impacts of poverty and economic hardship.
    • I love how the snow buffered the sound of the cars on the nearby streets.
    • It was buffered by a rock wall erected by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1978 to secure the monument against erosion, but a lawn and some outlying structures were buried in silt.
    Synonyms
    cushion, absorb, soften, lessen, diminish, moderate, mitigate, allay, deaden, muffle, stifle, shield
  • 2Treat with a chemical buffer: add organic matter to buffer the resulting alkalinity
    More example sentences
    • Weaver and associates compared pain on instillation of plain tetracaine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution with pain caused by a solution buffered with sodium bicarbonate to a pH level of 7.4.
    • The pH of the medium was not buffered and the volume in each container was maintained by regularly adding fresh nutrient solution to compensate for plant consumption and evaporation.
    • Each media type, including SIM, was buffered with 25 mM MES and cultured for 35 d.
  • 3 Computing Store (data) in a buffer while it is being processed or transferred: try buffering as much of the video stream as you can before you hit the ‘play’ button
    More example sentences
    • Cunningly, the machine buffers everything, allowing you to capture a complete song or show, even if you don't press 'record' as soon as it starts.
    • The radio plays in real time - it doesn't buffer or save the audio before you hear.
    • But how, you might ask, were they able to buffer bits of data ahead of the current streaming rate?

Phrases

hit the buffers

British Come to a sudden unsuccessful end: his world championship campaign looked as if it had hit the buffers
More example sentences
  • Bradford & Bingley's dogged pursuit of Macclesfield for the play-off place in the National League finally hit the buffers on Saturday.
  • A city centre shop opened amid high hopes by the National Railway Museum less than two years ago has hit the buffers.
  • Plans to run Eurostar train services from York to Paris have finally hit the buffers.

Origin

mid 19th century: probably from obsolete buff (verb), imitative of the sound of a blow to a soft body.

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Word of the day mage
Pronunciation: māj
noun
a magician or learned person

There are 2 definitions of buffer in English:

buffer2

Line breaks: buf¦fer
Pronunciation: /ˈbʌfə
 
/

noun

British informal
  • An elderly man who is considered to be foolishly old-fashioned, unworldly, or incompetent: a distinguished old buffer
    More example sentences
    • Every time I see the old buffers talking about how it would change the game to use TV footage to determine decisions, as if that is somehow something to be avoided, I think ‘yes, precisely’.
    • SIR - Although in a variety of British comedies ranging from the St Trinian's series to the Carry On gems such people as judges are caricatured as silly old buffers, there was some joy from the bench last week.
    • After all, who needed these scarred old buffers in the new dot.com era that would run forever?

Origin

mid 18th century: probably from obsolete buff (see buffer1), or from dialect buff 'stutter, splutter' (possibly the same word). In late Middle English buffer had the sense 'stammerer'.

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