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From a dialect word meaning "blow in gusts".



faff (plural faffs)

  1. (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.
  2. (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.


faff (third-person singular simple present faffs, present participle faffing, simple past and past participle faffed)

  1. (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.

Usage notes[edit]



Etymology 1[edit]


faff ? (plural [please provide])

  1. lily (flower)

Etymology 2[edit]


faff m (plural [please provide])

  1. priest


  • Umberto Patuzzi, ed., (2013) Ünsarne Börtar, Luserna: Comitato unitario delle linguistiche storiche germaniche in Italia / Einheitskomitee der historischen deutschen Sprachinseln in Italien