When you see the word buffet, it's hard not to think "all-you-can-eat." Although the noun can refer to food set out for self-service, buffet also means "a blow, especially with the hand" or, as a verb, "to strike sharply."

The two meanings of buffet come from very different sources. The self-serve meal buffet — from 18th-century French and pronounced buh-FAY — is named after a piece of furniture, bufet ("sideboard"), on which such a meal might be served. The meaning of hitting, however, comes from the Old French word bufe, "a blow" or "a puff of wind," and is pronounced BUH-fit. If the wind buffets the windows of your house, it can make them rattle in their frames, and if you are buffeted by bad news, you might shake in your shoes.

Definitions of buffet
  1. noun
    a piece of furniture that stands at the side of a dining room; has shelves and drawers
    synonyms: counter, sideboard
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    credence, credenza
    a kind of sideboard or buffet
    cellaret, minibar
    sideboard with compartments for holding bottles
    type of:
    article of furniture, furniture, piece of furniture
    furnishings that make a room or other area ready for occupancy
  2. noun
    a meal set out on a buffet at which guests help themselves
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    an assortment of foods starting with herring or smoked eel or salmon etc with bread and butter; then cheeses and eggs and pickled vegetables and aspics; finally hot foods; served as a buffet meal
    type of:
    meal, repast
    the food served and eaten at one time
  3. noun
    usually inexpensive bar
    synonyms: snack bar, snack counter
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    a snack bar in a film studio
    milk bar
    snack bar that sells milk drinks and light refreshments (such as ice cream)
    type of:
    a counter where you can obtain food or drink
  4. verb
    strike, beat repeatedly
    “The wind buffeted him”
    synonyms: buff
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    type of:
    deal a blow to, either with the hand or with an instrument
  5. verb
    strike against forcefully
    “Winds buffeted the tent”
    synonyms: batter, knock about
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    type of:
    deliver a sharp blow, as with the hand, fist, or weapon
  6. noun
    a powerful stroke with the fist or a weapon
    synonyms: blow
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    show 38 types...
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    a backhanded blow
    a sharp slanting blow
    belt, knock, rap, whack, whang
    the act of hitting vigorously
    a hard blow with a flat object
    slap, smack, smacking
    the act of smacking something; a blow delivered with an open hand
    a very powerful blow with the fist
    a blow that knocks the opponent off his feet
    KO, kayo, knockout
    a blow that renders the opponent unconscious
    a sharp blow
    lash, whip, whiplash
    a quick blow delivered with a whip or whiplike object
    biff, clout, lick, poke, punch, slug
    (boxing) a blow with the fist
    a blow with the hand (usually on the ear)
    boot, kick, kicking
    the act of delivering a blow with the foot
    a return blow; a retaliatory blow
    a sweeping blow or stroke
    knife thrust, stab, thrust
    a strong blow with a knife or other sharp pointed instrument
    a sharp stinging blow
    a heavy blow with the hand
    a swinging blow directed upward (especially at an opponent's chin)
    hammer, hammering, pound, pounding
    the act of pounding (delivering repeated heavy blows)
    a blow hard enough to cause injury
    a severe blow
    TKO, technical knockout
    a knockout declared by the referee who judges one boxer unable to continue
    a slap with the flat of the hand
    counter, counterpunch, parry
    a return punch (especially by a boxer)
    KO punch, Sunday punch, haymaker, knockout punch
    a hard punch that renders the opponent unable to continue boxing
    a short swinging punch delivered from the side with the elbow bent
    a quick short straight punch
    rabbit punch
    a short chopping blow to the back of the neck
    sucker punch
    an unexpected punch
    (association football) a kick by the defending side after the attacking side sends the ball over the goal-line
    (rugby) an attempt to kick a goal
    punt, punting
    (football) a kick in which the football is dropped from the hands and kicked before it touches the ground
    place kick, place-kicking
    (sports) a kick in which the ball is placed on the ground before kicking
    (football) kicking (as for a field goal) in which the football is dropped and kicked as it touches the ground
    lunge, passado, straight thrust
    (fencing) an attacking thrust made with one foot forward and the back leg straight and with the sword arm outstretched forward
    (fencing) a second thrust made on the same lunge (as when your opponent fails to riposte)
    cheap shot
    an illegal and unsportsmanlike act of unnecessary violence
    type of:
    a single complete movement
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