Buff is a busy word. If you’re a movie buff, you’re a film fan! If you are buff, your muscles are toned. If your sweater is buff, it's a caramel brown color. And to buff is to polish. Whew!

You may decide to paint your living room buff or write a long letter on buff-colored stationery. There is also a soft-surfaced, yellowish kind of leather that's called buff, which is where the word came from — it was called buffe leather, or "leather made of buffalo hide," in the 16th century, and the practice of polishing leather gives buff its meaning as a verb: to polish. You might also have heard the phrase "in the buff," which means "not wearing any clothes."

Definitions of buff
  1. noun
    a soft thick undyed leather from the skins of e.g. buffalo or oxen
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    type of:
    an animal skin made smooth and flexible by removing the hair and then tanning
  2. noun
    a medium to dark tan color
    synonyms: caramel, caramel brown, raw sienna, yellowish brown
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    snuff-color, snuff-colour
    dark yellowish brown
    type of:
    brown, brownness
    an orange of low brightness and saturation
  3. noun
    bare skin; naked
    “swimming in the buff
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    type of:
    cutis, skin, tegument
    a natural protective body covering and site of the sense of touch
  4. adjective
    of the yellowish-beige color of buff leather
    being or having or characterized by hue
  5. verb
    polish and make shiny
    buff the wooden floors”
    buff my shoes”
    synonyms: burnish, furbish
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    type of:
    polish, shine, smooth, smoothen
    make (a surface) shine
  6. noun
    an implement consisting of soft material mounted on a block; used for polishing (as in manicuring)
    synonyms: buffer
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    type of:
    instrumentation (a piece of equipment or tool) used to effect an end
  7. noun
    an ardent follower and admirer
    synonyms: devotee, fan, lover
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    a lover of aviation
    a serious devotee of some particular music genre or musical performer
    one dedicated to love and lovemaking especially one who writes about love
    bacchanal, bacchant
    a drunken reveller; a devotee of Bacchus
    an enthusiastic young fan (especially a young woman who follows rock groups around)
    a fan of heavy metal music
    type of:
    a person who accepts the leadership of another
  8. verb
    strike, beat repeatedly
    synonyms: buffet
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    type of:
    deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument
Word Family