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buff

1 [buhf]
noun
1.
a soft, thick, light-yellow leather with a napped surface, originally made from buffalo skin but later also from other skins, used for making belts, pouches, etc.
2.
a brownish-yellow color; tan.
4.
a devotee or well-informed student of some activity or subject: Civil War buffs avidly read the new biography of Grant.
5.
Informal. the bare skin: in the buff.
6.
Also called buffcoat. a thick, short coat of buffalo leather, worn especially by English soldiers and American colonists in the 17th century.
7.
Informal. a buffalo.
adjective
8.
having the color of buff.
9.
made of buff leather.
10.
Slang. physically attractive; muscular.
verb (used with object)
11.
to clean or polish (metal) or give a grainless finish of high luster to (plated surfaces) with or as if with a buff stick or buff wheel.
12.
to polish or shine, especially with a buffer: to buff shoes.
13.
to dye or stain in a buff color.

Origin:
1545–55; 1900–05 for def 4; earlier buffe wild ox, back formation from buffle < Middle French < Late Latin būfalus; see buffalo; (def 4) originally a person enthusiastic about firefighting and firefighters, allegedly after the buff uniforms once worn by volunteer firefighters in New York City

buffability, noun
buffable, adjective


10. burnish, shine.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
buff1 (bʌf)
 
n
1.  a.  a soft thick flexible undyed leather made chiefly from the skins of buffalo, oxen, and elk
 b.  (as modifier): a buff coat
2.  a.  a dull yellow or yellowish-brown colour
 b.  (as adjective): buff paint
3.  Also called: buffer
 a.  a cloth or pad of material used for polishing an object
 b.  a flexible disc or wheel impregnated with a fine abrasive for polishing metals, etc, with a power tool
4.  informal one's bare skin (esp in the phrase in the buff)
 
vb
5.  to clean or polish (a metal, floor, shoes, etc) with a buff
6.  to remove the grain surface of (a leather)
 
adj
7.  informal (US) in a condition of high physical fitness and body tone, maintained by regular exercise
 
[C16: from Old French buffle, from Old Italian bufalo, from Late Latin būfalusbuffalo]

buff2 (bʌf)
 
vb
1.  (tr) to deaden the force of
 
n
2.  archaic a blow or buffet (now only in the phrase blind man's buff)
 
[C15: back formation from buffet²]

buff3 (bʌf)
 
n
informal an expert on or devotee of a given subject: a cheese buff
 
[C20: originally US: an enthusiastic fire watcher, from the buff-coloured uniforms worn by volunteer firemen in New York City]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

buff
1570s, buffe leather, from M.Fr. buffle "buffalo" (15c., via It. from L. bufalus; see see buffalo). The color term comes from the hue of buffalo hides (later ox hides); association of "hide" and "skin" led c.1600 to in the buff, and use of buff or suede to polish metal led
to sense of verb "to polish with a buff" (1885). Related: Buffed; buffing. Buff-colored uniforms of N.Y.C. volunteer firefighters since 1820s led to meaning "enthusiast" (1903).
"The Buffs are men and boys whose love of fires, fire-fighting and firemen is a predominant characteristic." [N.Y. "Sun," Feb. 4, 1903]
Adj. meaning "well-built, hunky" is from 1980s, from sense "polish, make attractive."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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