buffoon

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French bouffon, from Italian buffone (jester), from buffare (to puff out the cheeks), of unknown origin. Compare Middle High German buffen ("to puff"; > German büffen), Old English pyffan (to breathe out, blow with the mouth). More at English puff.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /bəˈfuːn/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːn

Noun[edit]

buffoon (plural buffoons)

  1. One who acts in a silly or ridiculous fashion; a clown or fool.
    • Melmoth
      To divert the audience with buffoon postures and antic dances.
  2. (derogatory) An unintentionally ridiculous person.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In the United States the term is used most commonly to describe inappropriate, clownish figures on the public stage; here the behavior of a variety of public figures have caused them to be described as buffoons by their political opponents.
  • In the UK the term is used more broadly, to describe such people who are held in popular regard but who nevertheless engender amusement with their pronouncements and acts.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

buffoon (third-person singular simple present buffoons, present participle buffooning, simple past and past participle buffooned)

  1. To behave like a buffoon
    • 1988, January 22, “Henry Sheehan”, in Little Boy Blue[1]:
      His mimicry of gay speech and facial expressions is analagous to an Amos 'n' Andy routine, in which white men buffooned their way through incredibly demeaning impersonations of black men.

Translations[edit]