From a dialect word meaning "blow in gusts".
faff (plural faffs)
- (Britain, slang) An overcomplicated task, especially one perceived as a waste of time.
- Adjusting this television is a bit of a faff.
- 2011, Patrick Kingsley, "Life with the Queen Mum revealed", The Guardian
- Breakfast in bed at the royal household is a massive faff. A page boy must carry the tray upstairs, but he's banned from actually serving it. So he leaves it on the floor by the bedroom door, whereupon a housemaid picks it up and knocks on said portal.
- (typically in the phrase 'in a faff') a state of confused or frantic activity; a flap.
- She's in a total faff about tonight's dinner party.
- (Britain, slang) To waste time on an unproductive activity.
- She faffed about so much, she never got to eat her breakfast.
- I decided to stop faffing about and get some work done.