Main definitions of buffer in English

: buffer1buffer2

buffer1

noun

  • 1A person or thing that reduces a shock or that forms a barrier between incompatible or antagonistic people or things:

    ‘family and friends can provide a buffer against stress’
    • ‘It can be a shield too, surely, a buffer between the committing of an act and its execution.’
    • ‘A better approach is to build time buffers into the project.’
    • ‘‘This increase will not act as a buffer between children and poverty and will certainly do nothing to help parents pay for childcare,’ she added.’
    • ‘Outside, the railed front garden with side lawn is surprisingly generous in comparison with many homes so close to the city centre, and provides a generous buffer between the property and Botanic Road.’
    • ‘The area serves as a natural buffer between Brookhaven and Wallingford homes.’
    • ‘Safety stock is used for the same reason as lead time - to provide a buffer of inventory to reduce the chance of a back order in the face of variability.’
    • ‘Russia views Ukraine as a key part of its historic sphere of influence, a major transit route for its oil and gas exports and a buffer between the expanding EU and NATO.’
    • ‘Evidently the major job of a PA or Private Secretary of an important official is to act as a buffer between his master and the inconvenient hordes seeking favours or the querulous ones voicing complaints.’
    • ‘Thus, swearing evolved a useful purpose as a buffer between fury and the instinct to beat the living daylights out of each other.’
    • ‘A provision was made to donate the remaining 15 acres to the council to be used as a buffer between developments.’
    • ‘I believe that historical forces push us into conflict and without the law as a buffer between people, we would have a world of vendetta, a world of violence, a world of chaos.’
    • ‘The cane farmers on the Sunshine Coast have provided not just a monetary benefit to the local economy: their crops have acted as a green buffer between settlements on the coast.’
    • ‘But democracy is more than just an idea; it requires an intricate network of institutions; it needs a civil society to act as a buffer between the people and power.’
    • ‘West African authorities spoke Saturday of the force deploying fairly quickly, with the aim of serving as a buffer between rebels and government.’
    • ‘I act as a buffer between him and the rest of the world when he needs it, and in return I get somebody who's a tremendous amount of fun when he feels good, and who is very good at understanding my own emotional foibles.’
    • ‘While technology no doubt aids journalism's mission to inform society by removing obstacles of time and distance, it also provides an unwelcome buffer between the reporter and the public.’
    • ‘The best thing about taking pictures is the camera acts as a buffer between you and everyone else.’
    • ‘Anthony, whose job it was to act as a buffer between editorial staff and management and who always looked as though he was on the verge of a heart attack, slammed the phone down, cursed and reached for a cigarette.’
    • ‘These act as a buffer between businesses and the public bodies they are seeking information from.’
    • ‘Doubt is the buffer between blind faith and cold logic.’
    cushion, bulwark
    shield, screen, barrier, guard, safeguard, hedge, shock absorber, armour
    intermediary, middleman, go-between
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1buffersBritish A pair of shock-absorbing pistons projecting from a cross-beam at the end of a railway track or on the front and rear of a railway vehicle.
      • ‘The brakes hiss and squeal as the carriages reach the buffers.’
      • ‘Fortunately, however, it fell short, and the buffers of the engine struck the other lip of the shaft with a tremendous crash.’
      • ‘At Kalka - an arid, deserted place, all scrub, shale and cactus - you change trains; the Himalayan Queen reclines at the buffers as its passengers decamp onto a narrow-gauge miniature train.’
      • ‘A new international station is being created at St Pancras so that, in three years' time, quarter-mile-long Eurostar trains can pull right up to the buffers under the magnificent Victorian arched roof.’
      • ‘An investigation has been launched after three train carriages ran out of control before smashing through buffers and derailing yards from a busy line.’
  • 2Chemistry
    A solution which resists changes in pH when acid or alkali is added to it.

    • ‘Root tissue was pulverized in a mortar under liquid nitrogen and homogenized with buffers for the preparation of soluble extracts or plasma membranes.’
    • ‘A spectral change was observed upon addition of lipid vesicles to the buffer solution of the sensitizers.’
    • ‘When cyanobacterial cells are immersed in buffers of high osmotic strength, phycobilisome diffusion is strongly inhibited.’
    • ‘Chemical buffers can affect the uptake of macronutrients by reducing the pH gradient through the plasma membrane.’
    • ‘To fill the channels with the aqueous buffer solution, the hydrophobic surface of PDMS was wetted with ethanol, which was gradually replaced by water.’
  • 3Computing
    A temporary memory area in which data is stored while it is being processed or transferred, especially one used while streaming video or downloading audio:

    ‘print speed is boosted by pages being formatted in a buffer while another is printing’
    • ‘The data processing device may further include a write buffer for storing write data.’
    • ‘First we create a buffer that is one byte bigger than the user string and fill it with zeros.’
    • ‘You can paste the text in your copy buffer into the active window with Ctrl-A.’
    • ‘Much like a cache, the buffer is a data area between the requests being sent to the hard disk, and the data stored on the disk itself.’
    • ‘Flash memory works as a buffer because most data is read from the hard drive.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Lessen or moderate the impact of (something):

    ‘the massage helped to buffer the strain’
    • ‘It was buffered by a rock wall erected by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1978 to secure the monument against erosion, but a lawn and some outlying structures were buried in silt.’
    • ‘Onwards from the classic study of Freud and Burlingham in 1943, the literature shows the positive effects of family attachment and other supports in buffering the impact of war on children.’
    • ‘In any case, the industry is buffered from a sudden drop in demand.’
    • ‘Substantial research efforts have been directed to factors believed to buffer occupational stress, such as individual coping skills and social support.’
    • ‘Neat salicylic acid is too tough on stomachs, so scientists had to find a way to buffer it.’
    • ‘I love how the snow buffered the sound of the cars on the nearby streets.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the seclusion of women within marriage and family life allows them to buffer the psychological shocks and reverses associated with industrial life.’
    • ‘You see, it had bought the riskiest bonds everywhere, believing that such diversification would buffer it against any given one going bad.’
    • ‘While print may provide context, a photo leaves relatively little to our imagination and elicits emotions otherwise buffered by words.’
    • ‘Among family members, social support can help buffer the negative impacts of poverty and economic hardship.’
    • ‘Mangroves buffer mainland areas from the strong storms that routinely hit tropical coasts and are natural protection areas for sea life and birds.’
    • ‘It will also lose a $900,000 provincial grant that buffered the effect of dropping enrolment on a new provincial funding formula.’
    • ‘So easy to read; why, then, does Harris feel the need to buffer each story with a short introduction?’
    • ‘The main finding to date is that breast-feeding appears to buffer women's stress response.’
    • ‘Network support can influence fathers' involvement by buffering men's stress during the transition to parenthood.’
    • ‘In the 1990s, the company sought to diversify its assets to buffer sagging rail business, which included buying Vancouver Wharves and Canadian Stevedoring.’
    • ‘This raises the question of whether the exogenous enzyme is a poor target for the C 3 leaf PEPCk, or alternatively, whether a compensation mechanism is induced to buffer the impact of the genetic modification.’
    • ‘Right through the 1997-98 meltdown, Taiwan was Asia's Treasure Island - its high foreign reserves and low foreign debt buffered it from the pain suffered elsewhere.’
    • ‘He has always emphasised the need to protect those on fixed incomes and has instructed successive governments to do their utmost to buffer them against the strains of economic reform.’
    • ‘Does a sweep of lawn buffer the house from the road?’
    cushion, absorb, soften, lessen, diminish, moderate, mitigate, allay, deaden, muffle, stifle, shield
    View synonyms
  • 2Treat with a chemical buffer:

    ‘add organic matter to buffer the resulting alkalinity’
    • ‘Each media type, including SIM, was buffered with 25 mM MES and cultured for 35 d.’
    • ‘Ten beetles were prepared for SEM by cooling on ice and immersion into cold 2% glutaraldehyde buffered in .2M sodium cacodylate for 36 hours.’
    • ‘Weaver and associates compared pain on instillation of plain tetracaine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution with pain caused by a solution buffered with sodium bicarbonate to a pH level of 7.4.’
    • ‘A total of 30 flies were homogenized in 1 ml of 0.32 M sucrose buffered with 10 mM Tris HCl pH 7.6.’
    • ‘The pH of the medium was not buffered and the volume in each container was maintained by regularly adding fresh nutrient solution to compensate for plant consumption and evaporation.’
  • 3Computing
    Store (data) in a buffer while it is being processed or transferred:

    ‘try buffering as much of the video stream as you can before you hit the 'play' button’
    • ‘With the advent of 3D accelerators, the video memory was burdened with the additional task of buffering the 3D data.’
    • ‘The video is buffered on the hard drive before recording.’
    • ‘Dedicated servers have large amounts of Ram memory so they can store and buffer large amounts of data.’
    • ‘Cunningly, the machine buffers everything, allowing you to capture a complete song or show, even if you don't press 'record' as soon as it starts.’
    • ‘The radio plays in real time - it doesn't buffer or save the audio before you hear.’
    • ‘The device buffers songs in memory, including sufficient for 30 minutes' anti-skip playback.’
    • ‘But how, you might ask, were they able to buffer bits of data ahead of the current streaming rate?’
    • ‘The random access memory stores and buffers the millions of instructions per second that the processor has to churn through.’
    • ‘The processing is done by buffering the output and saving it in the cache file before it is sent to the client.’
    • ‘The proxy then buffers the image in its own memory and terminates the connection on the server side, freeing that server resource for a new user.’

Phrases

  • hit the buffers

    • Come to a sudden unsuccessful end:

      ‘his world championship campaign looked as if it had hit the buffers’
      • ‘A number of other fresh start schools across the country have hit the buffers with many set to close later this year.’
      • ‘No sooner are the local elections over than the government's decentralisation plan has hit the buffers.’
      • ‘Plans to run Eurostar train services from York to Paris have finally hit the buffers.’
      • ‘But Hall's vision hit the buffers and he lost millions of pounds.’
      • ‘His ambitious reform plans had hit the buffers.’
      • ‘Attempts to hoist a 20 ft high locomotive statue which commemorates the past glory of Horwich Loco Works have continued to hit the buffers.’
      • ‘Bradford & Bingley's dogged pursuit of Macclesfield for the play-off place in the National League finally hit the buffers on Saturday.’
      • ‘A city centre shop opened amid high hopes by the National Railway Museum less than two years ago has hit the buffers.’
      • ‘Witham's long-awaited rail bridge project has finally hit the buffers.’
      • ‘Television income, so long the sport's gravy train, has hit the buffers.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: probably from obsolete buff (verb), imitative of the sound of a blow to a soft body.

Pronunciation:

buffer

/ˈbʌfə/

Main definitions of buffer in English

: buffer1buffer2

buffer2

noun

British
informal
  • An elderly man who is considered to be foolishly old-fashioned, unworldly, or incompetent:

    ‘a distinguished old buffer’
    • ‘I admire Bill, and I wish the Labour Party had a few old buffers of his calibre around to glance over some of the more radical proposals, but he's out of touch here.’
    • ‘There's an old buffer there who is anybody's for a pint of Guinness and a kind word.’
    • ‘One of the mysteries of the age is how this boy from Brixton managed to transform himself into a genial old buffer who speaks in a language that, if it was ever used outside the pages of fiction, can be carbon-dated to around 1928.’
    • ‘And then the old buffer adds: ‘Of course, they're not really English either.’’
    • ‘The old buffers suddenly woke up to the carpet-baggers' plans to sell off the assets and called a meeting.’
    • ‘After all, who needed these scarred old buffers in the new dot.com era that would run forever?’
    • ‘Nobody could pretend that he hadn't become just an old buffer.’
    • ‘So unless the lass had an unhealthy taste for doddering old buffers like you and me, my theory's up the spout.’
    • ‘So we are getting to be a lot of bad-tempered old buffers.’
    • ‘Mind you, some of the old buffers at the New Club have got wind of this and say they have slipped Fraser a few new titbits about Jack's role in the Holyrood business.’
    • ‘Even though he can be an old buffer type of commentator at times, no one who has listened to him can say that he doesn't inform and doesn't contribute.’
    • ‘SIR - Although in a variety of British comedies ranging from the St Trinian's series to the Carry On gems such people as judges are caricatured as silly old buffers, there was some joy from the bench last week.’
    • ‘I have pictured the culprit as a rather benign old buffer spending his days in an alcoholic haze waiting for his pension.’
    • ‘As you might expect of an old buffer, I much prefer the early days of the music biz.’
    • ‘Political pundits, as they turn in 2004 to the North's European Parliament election, must sympathise with the old buffer.’
    • ‘There is one, however, which shows none of these characteristics and indeed suggests that, sharp tongue or no, he might have been a lovable old buffer.’
    • ‘But once he's on the road, this amiable old buffer turns into ‘Keef’, the black-clad guitar-ace.’
    • ‘Every time I see the old buffers talking about how it would change the game to use TV footage to determine decisions, as if that is somehow something to be avoided, I think ‘yes, precisely’.’
    • ‘Back then the old buffers declared that they wanted to make Scotland the leading rugby nation in the world.’
    • ‘It all sounds jolly odd to me, but as you're always saying, I'm just an old buffer, half plastered most of the time, but that's neither here nor there.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: probably from obsolete buff (see buffer), or from dialect buff ‘stutter, splutter’ (possibly the same word). In late Middle English buffer had the sense ‘stammerer’.

Pronunciation:

buffer

/ˈbʌfə/