Capitol vs. capital? What's the difference?


[stuhf] /stʌf/
the material of which anything is made:
a hard, crystalline stuff.
material to be worked upon or to be used in making something:
wood, steel, and other stuff for building.
material of some unspecified kind:
a cushion filled with some soft stuff.
Chiefly British. woven material or fabric, especially wool.
property, as personal belongings or equipment; things.
something to be swallowed, as food, drink, or medicine.
inward character, qualities, or capabilities:
to have good stuff in one.
Informal. action or talk of a particular kind:
kid stuff; Cut out the rough stuff.
worthless things or matter:
to clean the stuff out of a closet.
worthless or foolish ideas, talk, or writing:
a lot of stuff and nonsense.
  1. Baseball. the assortment of pitches that a pitcher uses in a game together with the ability to deliver them in the proper manner at the right speed to the desired spot:
    He saved his best stuff for the tougher hitters in the lineup.
  2. spin or speed imparted to a ball, as by a baseball pitcher, a bowler, or a tennis player:
    a pitch with plenty of stuff.
Informal. journalistic, literary, artistic, dramatic, musical, or other compositions or performances:
Bach composed some splendid stuff.
Informal. one's trade, skill, field, facts, etc.:
She knows her stuff.
Slang. any kind of drug, especially an illicit one.
Also called stock. Papermaking. refined and beaten wet pulp ready for spreading on the wire.
verb (used with object)
to fill (a receptacle), especially by packing the contents closely together; cram full.
to fill (an aperture, cavity, etc.) by forcing something into it.
to fill or line with some kind of material as a padding or packing.
to fill or cram (oneself, one's stomach, etc.) with food.
to fill (meat, vegetables, etc.) with seasoned bread crumbs or other savory matter.
to fill the preserved skin of (a dead animal) with material, retaining its natural form and appearance for display.
to put fraudulent votes into (a ballot box).
to thrust or cram (something) into a receptacle, cavity, or the like.
Synonyms: jam, compress, press, ram; stow.
to pack tightly in a confined place; crowd together.
to crowd (a vehicle, room, etc.) with persons.
to clutter or fill (the mind) with facts, details, etc.
(in leather manufacturing) to treat (a skin, hide, etc.) with a composition of tallow and other ingredients.
to stop up or plug; block or choke (usually followed by up).
Synonyms: clog, obstruct.
verb (used without object)
to cram oneself with food; eat gluttonously; gorge.
Origin of stuff
late Middle English
1300-50; (v.) late Middle English stuffen to equip, furnish < Old French estoffer literally, to stuff < Frankish *stopfōn, *stoppōn (see stop); (noun) Middle English < Old French estoffe, derivative of the v.
Related forms
stuffless, adjective
restuff, verb (used with object)
understuff, verb (used with object)
unstuff, verb (used with object)
unstuffed, adjective
well-stuffed, adjective
Synonym Study
1, 2, 3. See matter. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for stuff
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But as a matter of fact my imagination is not made of stuff so elastic as all that.

    Notes on My Books Joseph Conrad
  • I don't think much of his stuff, but they say he makes heaps of money.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • I suppose that he means the trail over which the stuff is brought.

  • You can peel the stuff out of your pockets with one hand, I figure.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • Protagoras seems189 even to have undertaken to make this experience of the individual, the stuff of the known world.

    Creative Intelligence John Dewey, Addison W. Moore, Harold Chapman Brown, George H. Mead, Boyd H. Bode, Henry Waldgrave, Stuart James, Hayden Tufts, Horace M. Kallen
British Dictionary definitions for stuff


verb (mainly transitive)
to pack or fill completely; cram
(intransitive) to eat large quantities
to force, shove, or squeeze: to stuff money into a pocket
to fill (food such as poultry or tomatoes) with a stuffing
to fill (an animal's skin) with material so as to restore the shape of the live animal
(slang) to have sexual intercourse with (a woman)
(tanning) to treat (an animal skin or hide) with grease
(US & Canadian) to fill (a ballot box) with a large number of fraudulent votes
(in marine transport) to pack (a container) See also stuffing and stripping
(slang) to ruin, frustrate, or defeat
the raw material or fabric of something
woollen cloth or fabric
any general or unspecified substance or accumulation of objects
stupid or worthless actions, speech, ideas, etc
subject matter, skill, etc: he knows his stuff
a slang word for money
(slang) a drug, esp cannabis
(Brit, slang) a girl or woman considered sexually (esp in the phrase bit of stuff)
(informal) do one's stuff, to do what is expected of one
that's the stuff, that is what is needed
Derived Forms
stuffer, noun
Usage note
Sense 6 of this word was formerly considered to be taboo, and it was labelled as such in previous editions of Collins English Dictionary. However, it has now become acceptable in speech, although some older or more conservative people may object to its use
Word Origin
C14: from Old French estoffe, from estoffer to furnish, provide, of Germanic origin; related to Middle High German stopfen to cram full
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 stuff

early 14c., "quilted material worn under chain mail," from Old French estoffe "quilted material, furniture, provisions" (Modern French étoffe), from estoffer "to equip or stock," which according to French sources is from Old High German stopfon "to plug, stuff," or from a related Frankish word (see stop), but OED has "strong objections" to this. Sense extended to material for working with in various trades (c.1400), then (1570s) "matter of an unspecified kind." Meaning "narcotic, dope, drug" is attested from 1929. To know (one's) stuff "have a grasp on a subject" is recorded from 1927.


mid-15c., "to cram full," from stuff (n.); earlier "to furnish a fort or army with men and stores" (c.1300). The ballot-box sense is attested from 1854, American English; in expressions of contempt and suggestive of bodily orifices, it dates from 1952. Stuffing "seasoned mixture used to stuff fowls before cooking" is from 1530s. Stuffed in reference to garments, "padded with stuffing" is from mid-15c.; hence stuffed shirt "pompous, ineffectual person" (1913).

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



  1. Masculine; sexually keen; macho: In one episode Ross is flustered when a new girlfriend wants him to talk dirty to her. For advice he goes to studly friend Joey/ Gay men at their pagan-studliest celebrate play, physicality, pretense, not to mention Greco-Roman grappling
  2. Excellent; good; cool: It seemed like a studly thing at the time. Microsoft got what it wanted, and I got what I wanted (1960s+)
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
Idioms and Phrases with stuff
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for stuff

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for stuff

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for stuff