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.