early 14c., "quilted material worn under chain mail," from O.Fr. estoffe "quilted material, furniture, provisions" (Fr. étoffe), from estoffer "to equip or stock," probably from O.H.G. stopfon "to plug, stuff," or from a related Frankish word (see stop
). 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. stuffy "poorly ventilated" is from 1831; sense of "pompous, smug" is from 1895.
1440, "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, Amer.Eng.; in expressions of contempt and suggestive of bodily orifices, it dates from 1952. Stuffing "seasoned mixture used
to stuff fowls before cooking" is from 1538. Stuffed in ref. to garments, "padded with stuffing" is from 1467; hence stuffed shirt "pompous, ineffectual person" (1913).