buff

\ \ [16] Buff originally meant ‘buffalo’; it was presumably an alteration of the French word buffebuffalo’. That sense had died out by the early 18th century, but since then the word has undergone a bizarre series of semantic changes.
\ \ First, it came to mean ‘leather’, originally from buffalo hides, but later from ox hides. This was commonly used in the 16th and 17th centuries for making military uniforms, so be in buff came to mean ‘be in the army’. Then in the 17th century the associations of ‘hide’ and ‘skin’ led to the expression in the buffnaked’. The colour of buff leather, a sort of dull yellowish-brown, led to the word’s adoption in the 18th century as a colour term. In the 19th century, soft buff or suede leather was used for the small pads or wheels used by silversmiths, watchmakers, etc for polishing: hence the verb buffpolish’. And finally, in the 1820s New York City volunteer firemen were known as ‘buffs’, from the colour of their uniforms; thus anyone who was a volunteer or enthusiastic for something became known as a buff (as in ‘film buff’).
\ \ The buff of blind-man’s buff is a different word. It meant ‘blow, punch’, and was borrowed in the 15th century from Old French buffe, source also of English buffetblow’ [13]. The term blind-man’s buff is first recorded around 1600, some what later than its now obsolete synonym hoodman blind.
\ \ Cf.BUFFALO, BUFFET

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Buff — steht für: Verstärkungszauber, siehe MMORPG Jargon, ein Begriff in Mehrspieler Online Rollenspielen Shit/Cannabis, siehe Drogen Glossar Buff proof ink, ein Synonym aus der Graffiti Szene für besonders schwer zu entfernende Farbe, die meist in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Buff — (b[u^]f), n. [OE. buff, buffe, buff, buffalo, F. buffle buffalo. See {Buffalo}.] 1. A sort of leather, prepared from the skin of the buffalo, dressed with oil, like chamois; also, the skins of oxen, elks, and other animals, dressed in like manner …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Buff — Buff, a. 1. Made of buff leather. Goldsmith. [1913 Webster] 2. Of the color of buff. [1913 Webster] {Buff coat}, a close, military outer garment, with short sleeves, and laced tightly over the chest, made of buffalo skin, or other thick and… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Buff — may refer to:* Buff (colour) * Buff (computer gaming), a temporary beneficial effect in some games * Buff (headgear) * Buff (superheroine), a Marvel Comics character * BUFF (Malmö Film Festival) * Buffing, the process of smoothing and polishing… …   Wikipedia

  • buff up — variant UK US Main entry: buff * * * buff up [phrasal verb] buff up or buff (someone or something) up or buff up (someone or something) informal : to become stronger and more muscular or to make (someone or something) stronger and more muscular… …   Useful english dictionary

  • buff — buff1 [buf] n. [earlier buffe, buffalo < Fr buffle < It bufalo,BUFFALO] 1. a heavy, soft, brownish yellow leather made from the skin of the buffalo or from other animal hides 2. a military coat made of this leather 3. a) a stick or small… …   English World dictionary

  • buff — Ⅰ. buff [1] ► NOUN 1) a yellowish beige colour. 2) a dull yellow leather with a velvety surface. ► VERB 1) polish. 2) give (leather) a velvety finish. ● i …   English terms dictionary

  • buff — buff·a·bil·i·ty; buff·able; buff·bar; buff; buff·y; re·buff; …   English syllables

  • Buff — Buff, n. [See {Buffet}.] A buffet; a blow; obsolete except in the phrase Blindman s buff. See {blindman s buff}. [1913 Webster] Nathless so sore a buff to him it lent That made him reel. Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • buff — 1570s, buffe leather, from M.Fr. buffle buffalo (15c., via It. from L. bufalus; see see BUFFALO (Cf. buffalo)). The color term comes from the hue of buffalo hides (later ox hides); association of hide and skin led c.1600 to in the buff, and use… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Buff — Buff, v. t. to polish with a soft cloth, especially one similar to a {buff[5]}. See {Buff}, n., 5. [1913 Webster +PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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