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muff

[muhf] /mʌf/
noun
1.
a thick, tubular case for the hands, covered with fur or other material, used by women and girls for warmth and as a handbag.
2.
a bungled or clumsy action or performance.
3.
Sports. a failure to hold onto a ball that may reasonably be expected to be caught successfully.
4.
a tuft of feathers on the sides of the head of certain fowls.
5.
Slang: Vulgar. a woman's pubic area.
6.
See under muff glass.
verb (used with object)
7.
Informal. to bungle; handle clumsily:
He muffed a good opportunity.
8.
Sports. to fail to hold onto (a ball that may reasonably be expected to be caught successfully); fumble.
verb (used without object)
9.
Informal. to bungle; perform clumsily.
Origin
early Medieval Latin
1590-1600
1590-1600; < Dutch mof, earlier moffel, muffel mitten, muff < Old North French moufle < early Medieval Latin muffula, perhaps < Frankish
Related forms
muffy, adjective

muff glass

noun
1.
sheet glass made from a blown cylinder (muff) that is split and flattened.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for muff

muff1

/mʌf/
noun
1.
an open-ended cylinder of fur or cloth into which the hands are placed for warmth
2.
the tuft on either side of the head of certain fowls
Word Origin
C16: probably from Dutch mof, ultimately from French mouffle muffle1

muff2

/mʌf/
verb
1.
to perform (an action) awkwardly
2.
(transitive) to bungle (a shot, catch, etc) in a game
noun
3.
any unskilful play in a game, esp a dropped catch
4.
any clumsy or bungled action
5.
a bungler
Word Origin
C19: of uncertain origin
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 muff
n.

"warm covering for the hands," 1590s, from Dutch mof "a muff," shortened from Middle Dutch moffel "mitten, muff," from Middle French moufle "mitten," from Old French mofle "thick glove, large mitten, handcuffs" (9c.), from Medieval Latin muffula "a muff," of unknown origin. In 17c.-18c. also worn by men. Meaning "vulva and pubic hair" is from 1690s; muff-diver "one who performs cunnilingus" is from 1935.

v.

"to bungle," 1827, pugilism slang, probably related to muff (n.) "awkward person" (1837), perhaps from muff (n.) on notion of someone clumsy because his hands are in a muff. Related: Muffed; muffing.

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

muff

noun
  1. : dropped the ball, ''the $75,000 muff,'' as it was called
  2. A wig; a toupee; rug: wasn't wearing his muff (1940s+)
  3. The vulva and pubic hair; beaver (1699+)
verb

To fail; botch, esp by clumsiness •The older example refers to playing cricket: This is a ripe one. Don't muff it, Billy (1837+)

[verb sense fr the clumsiness of someone wearing a muff on the hands]


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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Encyclopedia Article for muff

in wearing apparel, usually cylindrical covering of fur, fabric, feathers, or other soft material, with open ends into which the hands are placed to keep them warm. Originally a purse and hand warmer in one, the muff was first introduced to women's fashion in 1570, when fur trimming was becoming popular

Learn more about muff with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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