Probably an alteration of tuft, referring to the gold tassel on the cap worn by titled undergraduates at English universities.
toff (plural toffs)
- (obsolete) An elegantly dressed person.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Rudyard Kipling to this entry?)
- (Britain, derogatory) A person of the upper class, or with pretensions to it, who usually communicates an air of superiority.
- 1972, New Scientist, Vol. 55, No. 812, "A groundling's notebook" by Donald Gould
- I came home first class — up the front end with the toffs — semi-anaesthetised throughout the trip by caviar and free champagne — and to hell with frugality and the conservation of resources.
- 1998, The Billboard, April 11th issue, page 34, Paul McCartney's remark on the right margin:
- George Martin always seemed to me to be a "toff" and a gentleman even though his roots, like many of us, were in the common people. George has a touch of class that is quite impressive.
- 2012, How the Dice Fell, by John Roberts, page 186
"A person of the upper class"
- “toff” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2017.