huff and puff

Idioms & Phrases

huff and puff

Make noisy, empty threats; bluster. For example, You can huff and puff about storm warnings all you like, but we'll believe it when we see it. This expression uses two words of 16th-century origin, huff, meaning "to emit puffs of breath in anger," and puff, meaning "to blow in short gusts," and figuratively, "to inflate" or "make conceited." They were combined in the familiar nursery tale, "The Three Little Pigs," where the wicked wolf warns, "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down"; rhyme has helped these idioms survive.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: huff
Next Definition: human
Words Near: huff and puff
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for huff and puff
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing huff and puff
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature