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a bunch or cluster of small, usually soft and flexible parts, as feathers or hairs, attached or fixed closely together at the base and loose at the upper ends.
a cluster of short, fluffy threads, used to decorate cloth, as for a bedspread, robe, bath mat, or window curtain.
a cluster of cut threads, used as a decorative finish attached to the tying or holding threads of mattresses, quilts, upholstery, etc.
a covered or finished button designed for similar use.
a cluster of short-stalked flowers, leaves, etc., growing from a common point.
a small clump of bushes, trees, etc.
a gold tassel on the cap formerly worn at English universities by titled undergraduates.
a titled undergraduateat an English university.
verb (used with object)
to furnish or decorate with a tuft or tufts.
to arrange in a tuft or tufts.
Upholstery. to draw together (a cushion or the like) by passing a thread through at regular intervals, the depressions thus produced being usually ornamented with tufts or buttons.
verb (used without object)
to form into or grow in a tuft or tufts.

1350–1400; Middle English, variant of toft(e) < Middle French tofe, toffe < ?; E parasitic t as in graft1

tufter, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
tuft (tʌft)
1.  a bunch of feathers, grass, hair, etc, held together at the base
2.  a cluster of threads drawn tightly through upholstery, a mattress, a quilt, etc, to secure and strengthen the padding
3.  a small clump of trees or bushes
4.  (formerly) a gold tassel on the cap worn by titled undergraduates at English universities
5.  a person entitled to wear such a tassel
6.  (tr) to provide or decorate with a tuft or tufts
7.  to form or be formed into tufts
8.  to secure and strengthen (a mattress, quilt, etc) with tufts
[C14: perhaps from Old French tufe, of Germanic origin; compare top1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., perhaps from O.Fr. touffe "tuft of hair," either from L.L. tufa "a kind of crest on a helmet" (also found in Late Gk. toupha), or from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. zopf, O.N. toppr "tuft, summit," see top (1)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
transuterine fallopian transfer
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
They dont appear to have much if any tufting on their legs.
As such, it exhibits many of the phenomena observed in earthbound plasma experiments, such as anode tufting.
In addition to weaving and knitting, yams are also used directly in the production of floor coverings in a process called tufting.
Primary backing is a fabric into which pile yarn tufts are inserted by tufting needles.
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