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."