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.
- 2017: Glister by Andi Watson
- The fuss and faff meant Christmas had long since been drained of any joy and excitement.
- (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.
From Middle High German pfaffe, from Old High German pfaffo, phapho, from Latin papa, from Byzantine Greek παπᾶς (papâs), from Koine Greek πάπας (pápas), from Ancient Greek πάππας (páppas). Cognate to German Pfaffe, Dutch paap. Doublet of baabost.
faff m (plural faffen)
- (Luserna, Sette Comuni) priest
- De faffen luughent naach dar zéel bon lòiten.
- Priests heal people's souls.
- “faff” in Martalar, Umberto Martello; Bellotto, Alfonso (1974) Dizionario della lingua Cimbra dei Sette Communi vicentini, 1st edition, Roana, Italy: Instituto di Cultura Cimbra A. Dal Pozzo
- “faff” in Patuzzi, Umberto, ed., (2013) Ünsarne Börtar [Our Words], Luserna, Italy: Comitato unitario delle linguistiche storiche germaniche in Italia / Einheitskomitee der historischen deutschen Sprachinseln in Italien