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See also: Huff



Probably an altered spelling of earlier *hough, represented by Scots hech (to breathe hard, pant). Compare also German hauchen (to breathe).


  • IPA(key): /hʌf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌf


huff (plural huffs)

  1. A heavy breath; a grunt or sigh.
    With a huff, he lifted the box onto the back of the truck.
  2. An expression of anger, annoyance, disgust, etc.
    • 1869 May, Anthony Trollope, “Hard Words”, in He Knew He Was Right, volume I, London: Strahan and Company, [], →OCLC, page 74:
      Such wickedness had never come into his head; but he had a certain pleasure in being the confidential friend of a very pretty woman; and when he heard that that pretty woman's husband was jealous, the pleasure was enhanced rather than otherwise. On that Sunday, as he had left the house in Curzon Street, he had told Stanbury that Trevelyan [the husband] had just gone off in a huff, which was true enough, and he had walked from thence down Clarges Street, and across Piccadilly to St. James's Street, with a jauntier step than usual, because he was aware that he himself had been the occasion of that trouble.
  3. (obsolete) One swelled with a false sense of importance or value; a boaster.
    • 1667, Robert South, The Practice of Religion enforced by Reason:
      Lewd, shallow-brained huffs make atheism and contempt of religion the sole badge [...] of wit.
  4. (draughts) The act of removing an opponent's piece as a forfeit for deliberately not taking a piece (often signalled by blowing on it).


huff (third-person singular simple present huffs, present participle huffing, simple past and past participle huffed)

  1. (intransitive) To breathe heavily.
    The run left him huffing and puffing.
  2. (intransitive) To say in a huffy manner.
  3. (intransitive) To enlarge; to swell up.
    Bread huffs.
  4. (intransitive) To bluster or swell with anger, arrogance, or pride; to storm; to take offense. [from the 16th c.]
    • 1691, Robert South, On the nature and measure of conscience:
      This senseless arrogant conceit of theirs made them huff at the doctrine of repentance.
    • 2023 January 20, Dan Bilefsky, “American Expatriates in Paris Wish Emily Cooper Would Go Home”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      After all, she huffed, Emily (played by Lily Collins) has been living in the French capital for about a year and had a Champagne brand as her client at the fictional luxury marketing firm, Savoir, where she worked.
  5. (transitive) To treat with arrogance and insolence; to chide or rebuke rudely; to bully, to hector.
    • 1684 February 4, William Vaughan, “[Appendix.] XXXI. A Letter from William Vaughan, Esq. Containing a Journal of Transactions during His Imprisonment, &c. to Nathaniel Weare, Esq. Agent in London.”, in Jeremy Belknap, The History of New-Hampshire. [], volume I, Boston, Mass.: Re-printed for the author, published 1792, →OCLC, page lix:
      [] I was ſent for by the marſhall, huffed and hectored ſtrangely, thretned, &c., in fine, muſte give bonds to the good behaviour; I refuſed, []
    • 1720, Laurence Echard, The history of England: from the first entrance of Julius Caesar and the Romans to the end of the reign of King James the first containing the space of 1678 years:
      You must not think to huff us.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To vex; to offend.
    • 1851, Varieties in English Life, page 42:
      Signior Riccabocca had become very intimate, as we have seen, at the Parsonage. But not so at the Hall. For though the Squire was inclined to be very friendly to all his neighbours he was, like most country gentlemen, rather easily huffed.
  7. (transitive) To inhale psychoactive inhalants. [from the 20th c.]
  8. (transitive, draughts) To remove an opponent's piece as a forfeit for deliberately not taking a piece (often signalled by blowing on it).


Derived terms[edit]



From Middle High German huf, from Old High German huf, from Proto-West Germanic *hupi, from Proto-Germanic *hupiz (hip; haunch; upper part of the thigh). Cognate with English hip, also German Hüfte (from an earlier plural form).


huff f (plural hüffediminutive hüffle)

  1. (Sette Comuni) thigh

Further reading[edit]

  • “huff” 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






  1. Expression of minor revulsion; minor horror.
    uff huff, så mye mas!
    (please add an English translation of this usage example)
    huff a meg!
    (please add an English translation of this usage example)


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


huff n

  1. An instance of uttering huff.



  • “huff” in The Bokmål Dictionary / The Nynorsk Dictionary.
  • huff” in The Ordnett Dictionary