boffin

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Unknown.

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Noun[edit]

boffin (plural boffins)

  1. (UK, Australia, informal) A scientist or engineer, especially one engaged in technological or military research.
    • 1942 February 2, Sir Henry Tizard, “Parliamentary and Scientific Committee. Luncheon.”, Journal of the Institute of Petroleum, volume 28, number 219, page 58: 
      In fact, a fighting friend of mine said that he could hardly walk in any direction in this war without tumbling over a scientist who had got in the way. In the Royal Air Force, where the concentration of scientists is perhaps greatest, they have a pet name for them. They call them " Boffins." Why, I do not know. I said to a young friend of mine in the Air Force, " Why do you call scientists ' Boffins ' ?" He said, " I don't know. What else would you call them ? "

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