A buffer is an object that either softens a blow like a fender, or helps buff or shine stuff, like a nail buffer.

Buffer comes from the Old French buff, a word that imitates the sound of a blow to a soft body. A person can also be a buffer if she keeps people prone to fighting from coming in contact or hurting each other, like a teacher who separates two rowdy kids at the lunch table. A buffer state is a country between two conflicting ones that helps them better get along by creating a buffer between them — like Mongolia is for China and Russia.

Definitions of buffer
  1. verb
    protect from impact
    synonyms: cushion, soften
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    type of:
    make less severe or harsh or extreme
  2. noun
    a cushion-like device that reduces shock due to an impact
    synonyms: fender
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    type of:
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  3. noun
    an inclined metal frame at the front of a locomotive to clear the track
    synonyms: cowcatcher, fender, pilot
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    type of:
    a structure supporting or containing something
  4. noun
    a neutral zone between two rival powers that is created in order to diminish the danger of conflict
    synonyms: buffer zone
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    type of:
    an area or region distinguished from adjacent parts by a distinctive feature or characteristic
  5. noun
    an implement consisting of soft material mounted on a block; used for polishing (as in manicuring)
    synonyms: buff
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    type of:
    instrumentation (a piece of equipment or tool) used to effect an end
  6. noun
    a power tool used to buff surfaces
    synonyms: polisher
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    type of:
    power tool
    a tool driven by a motor
  7. noun
    (chemistry) an ionic compound that resists changes in its pH
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    type of:
    chemical compound, compound
    (chemistry) a substance formed by chemical union of two or more elements or ingredients in definite proportion by weight
  8. verb
    add a buffer (a solution)
    buffered saline solution for the eyes”
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    type of:
    make less severe or harsh or extreme
  9. noun
    (computer science) a part of RAM used for temporary storage of data that is waiting to be sent to a device; used to compensate for differences in the rate of flow of data between components of a computer system
    synonyms: buffer storage, buffer store
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    cache, memory cache
    (computer science) RAM memory that is set aside as a specialized buffer storage that is continually updated; used to optimize data transfers between system elements with different characteristics
    frame buffer
    (computer science) a buffer that stores the contents of an image pixel by pixel
    keyboard buffer
    a buffer that keeps track of key strokes until the computer is ready to respond to them
    print buffer
    a buffer that stores data until the printer is ready
    disk cache
    a cache that stores copies of frequently used disk sectors in random access memory (RAM) so they can be read without accessing the slower disk
    type of:
    memory device, storage device
    a device that preserves information for retrieval
Word Family