follow Dictionary.com

Submit your word to be a Word of the Day!

luff

[luhf] /lʌf/
noun, Nautical
1.
the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail.
verb (used without object)
2.
to bring the head of a sailing ship closer to or directly into the wind, with sails shaking.
3.
(of a sail) to shake from being set too close to the wind:
The sail luffed as we put about for port.
4.
to raise or lower the outer end of the boom of a crane or derrick so as to move its load horizontally.
verb (used with object)
5.
to set (the helm of a ship) in such a way as to bring the head of the ship into the wind.
6.
to raise or lower the outer end of (the boom of a crane or derrick).
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English lof, loof steering gear (compare Old French lof) < Middle Dutch (unrecorded), later Dutch loef tholepin (of tiller)
Related forms
unluffed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for luff
  • Did his yellow hair luff in a gust as he stood there.
  • luff filed a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence.
British Dictionary definitions for luff

luff

/lʌf/
noun
1.
(nautical) the leading edge of a fore-and-aft sail
2.
tackle consisting of a single and a double block for use with rope having a large diameter
verb
3.
(nautical) to head (a sailing vessel) into the wind so that her sails flap
4.
(intransitive) (nautical) (of a sail) to flap when the wind is blowing equally on both sides
5.
to move the jib of (a crane) or raise or lower the boom of (a derrick) in order to shift a load
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: steering gear): from Old French lof, perhaps from Middle Dutch loef peg of a tiller; compare Old High German laffa palm of hand, oar blade, Russian lapa paw
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for luff
n.

c.1200, in sailing, from Old French lof "spar," or some other nautical device, "point of sail," also "windward side," probably from Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch lof "windward side of a ship" (Dutch loef), which might also be the direct source of the English word), from Proto-Germanic *lofo (cf. Old Norse lofi, Gothic lofa "palm of the hand," Danish lab, Swedish labb "paw"), from PIE *lep- "to be flat" (see glove). As a verb from late 14c., from the noun.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for luff

luff

Related Terms

first luff


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

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for luff

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for luff

10
12
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for luff