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[fluhf] /flʌf/
light, downy particles, as of cotton.
a soft, light, downy mass:
a fluff of summer clouds.
something of no consequence:
The book is pure fluff, but fun to read.
an error or blunder, especially an actor's memory lapse in the delivery of lines.
verb (used with object)
to make into fluff; shake or puff out (feathers, hair, etc.) into a fluffy mass (often followed by up):
to fluff up the sofa pillows.
to make a mistake in:
The leading man fluffed his lines.
verb (used without object)
to become fluffy; move, float, or settle down like fluff.
to make a mistake, especially in the delivery of lines by a performer; blunder.
Origin of fluff
1780-90; perhaps blend of flue2 and puff
Related forms
fluffer, noun
unfluffed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for fluffing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A bit of fluffing and the lovely hair rose like an aura about the smiling face.

    The Shield of Silence Harriet T. Comstock
  • I don't go twittering and fluffing about in oaks and chestnuts, perching on the birds' nest steps and getting in their way.

  • The profits thus accruing are called fluffings, and the practice is known as fluffing.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • And he hoped Sam hadn't gotten too blistered by his mentors when he returned home after fluffing the inquiry he was sent out on.

    The Great Gray Plague Raymond F. Jones
  • Having done so, she stood before the mantel-mirror, fluffing up her hair a little, where the hat had pressed it down.

    Angela's Business Henry Sydnor Harrison
  • The flesh side is finished by fluffing it on the emery or carborundum wheel (Fig. 33).

    Leather K. J. Adcock
  • Emma McChesney took off her hat before the dim old mirror, and stood there, fluffing out her hair here, patting it there.

    Roast Beef, Medium Edna Ferber
  • Astrid was standing before the mirror, fluffing her hair; she turned at Ingeborg's last words, and set her hands on her hips.

    Ragna Anna Miller Costantini
  • Why should people waste time in fluffing and crimping their hair.

British Dictionary definitions for fluffing


soft light particles, such as the down or nap of cotton or wool
any light downy substance
an object, matter, etc, of little importance; trifle
(informal) a mistake, esp in speaking or reading lines or performing music
(informal) a young woman (esp in the phrase a bit of fluff)
to make or become soft and puffy by shaking or patting; puff up
(informal) to make a mistake in performing (an action, dramatic speech, music, etc)
Word Origin
C18: perhaps from flue²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fluffing



"light, feathery stuff," 1790, apparently a variant of floow "wooly substance, down, nap" (1580s), perhaps from Flemish vluwe, from French velu "shaggy, hairy," from Latin vellus "fleece," or Latin villus "tuft of hair" (see velvet). OED suggests fluff as "an imitative modification" of floow, "imitating the action of puffing away some light substance." Slang bit of fluff "young woman" is from 1903. The marshmallow confection Fluff dates to c.1920 in Massachusetts, U.S.


"to shake into a soft mass," 1875, from fluff (n.). Meaning "make a mistake" is from 1884, originally in theater slang. Related: Fluffed; fluffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for fluffing



  1. A girl or young woman •Found in the sense ''female pubic hair, bush, beaver'' by the 1890s: A wan little fluff steals a dress so as to look sweet in the eyes of her boyfriend/ Thanks for the great interview with Cindy Crawford. It brings the word fluff to a new low (1903+)
  2. An oral error, esp one made by an actor, announcer, etc; lapsus linguae: A hell of a fluff, talking about Montezuma's revenge to the president of Mexico (1891+)
  3. A blunder; misplay (1920s+)


: Show me an actor that never fluffed a line

Related Terms

bit of fluff, give someone the fluff

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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