Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"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.
"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.
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]
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