Definition of puff in English:

puff

noun

  • 1A short, explosive burst of breath or wind.

    ‘a puff of wind swung the weathercock round’
    • ‘I scrambled out of the bath with difficulty, hoping not to fall back in, whilst blowing out all the candles with quick, short puffs.’
    • ‘But soon the pain stopped and I sat there, my breath coming in short puffs.’
    • ‘The positions of the whole fleet are readily seen as well as puffs of wind, ripples in the water, and what direction they're taking.’
    • ‘His breath came in small puffs, the cold air filling his lungs as he walked along the side of the pavement.’
    • ‘She ignored them stubbornly, breathing out short puffs of air.’
    • ‘And all through this, his breath came in even puffs against my cheek.’
    • ‘Some ABC bunting waiting in vain for a puff of wind’
    • ‘Ansley could hear his breath coming in short puffs, even over the thundering of hooves that filled her ears.’
    • ‘An arm was flung over his waist and small puffs of breath tickled his chest.’
    • ‘When she was halfway down the stairs, hot air, like the puff of breath from a muzzle, touched the back of her neck.’
    • ‘There wasn't a puff of wind for most of an unseasonally cold day and the heavy overnight rain had softened both the fairways and greens to make them more receptive.’
    • ‘Her breath came out in puffs as they walked down the cobblestone street toward the docks.’
    • ‘She zipped up her jacket, shivering from the sudden puff of cold wind.’
    • ‘A stronger puff of wind ruffled the water and bent the water-side reeds.’
    • ‘At precisely the point of the peak of the roof, just a gentle puff of wind can determine the destiny of many raindrops.’
    • ‘It may be due to some slight puff of wind or a tremor of the earth.’
    • ‘A little girl flew backwards out of the pile and put her back against the wall of the closet, her breath coming out in puffs and her eyes wide.’
    • ‘My body turned ice cold, my breath came in shallow puffs, and my hands began to tremble.’
    • ‘For the first half hour it was hard to find a puff of wind to reach the windward mark in front of the Asia Pattaya Hotel, but gradually the wind picked up and by noon was blowing at a gentle 4 knots.’
    • ‘She felt the warm puff of breath before she had heard the sickening sniffling sound.’
    gust, blast, rush, squall, gale, whiff, breath, flurry, draught, waft, breeze, blow
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The sound of air or vapour escaping suddenly.
      ‘the whistle and puff of steam’
      • ‘She made a puff sound and turned away as to avoid my question or to change the subject, to not let me see her calculating expression.’
      • ‘Three puffs of steam from the ship's whistle verified it received and understood the message.’
      • ‘Letting a puff of tired laughter escape his lips, Shanza added, ‘I spoke to Dezra.’’
      • ‘Melanie huffs, puffs and squeaks as the bird's voice.’
      • ‘He blew out a puff sound which vibrated his lips.’
      • ‘You'll hear rather than see the unassuming clank of diesel locos sliding in and out of Newton Dale and the more exuberant klaxon and puff, puff, puff of the steam trains.’
      • ‘What a ridiculous speech and what a lot of puff and whistle about nothing!’
      • ‘Soon with a whistle and a puff a steam train chugged through the snaky valley below.’
      • ‘Instead, water is superheated by low-voltage electricity delivered from the track, producing enough steam to run the train for up to half an hour complete with authentic puffs, whistles and whiffs of hot oil.’
      • ‘He opened fire, the silencers muffling the gunfire to a small puff noise.’
    2. 1.2 A small quantity of vapour or smoke, emitted in one blast.
      ‘the fire breathed out a puff of blue smoke’
      • ‘But even with my eyes half shut I can see puffs of white vapour float out in front of me with every exhalation.’
      • ‘He didn't even leave behind a puff of smoke, as more inept magicians (in other words, most magicians) were wont to do.’
      • ‘He promptly disappeared in a puff of blue smoke.’
      • ‘The mules stamped; dust rose in little puffs under their hoofs.’
      • ‘Off goes the magician's assistant in a puff of smoke.’
      • ‘Of course, it's not good to see a cherished icon of the community disappear in a puff of smoke, but I can't pretend my feelings about the disappearance of this old bird were anything but mixed.’
      • ‘One of Bradford's best known landmarks disappeared in a puff of smoke yesterday.’
      • ‘All this confusion and misery is going to blow away like a puff of smoke, and I'm going to be cured?’
      • ‘She lit up and blew a puff of smoke out of the window.’
      • ‘My hands already numb, I held them to my mouth and blew slowly, watching as the puffs of white escaped my lips and warmed my hands before dissipating into the cold.’
      • ‘With that, the adorable little demon disappeared in a puff of sulfurous smoke leaving behind only a feeling of unspeakable dread.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, whale spouts can seem rather tiny out there, small puffs of vapour that hang in the air only slightly longer than the spray from a wave.’
      • ‘A little crowd of good old boys, coaches and kids send puffs of steam into the frigid air.’
      • ‘When it impacted, it would release a puff of smoke.’
      • ‘Hundreds of people lined the platform to watch the train, one of the last steam locomotives built by British Railways, arrive amid puffs of steam.’
      • ‘In the passenger seat, small puffs of steam came from the pizza box.’
      • ‘Everyone rushes for their cameras while he turns into a puff of smoke.’
      • ‘He grinned, blowing out a puff of smoke, then did a courtly bow to the quarter-deck.’
      • ‘Rain was pelting down and small puffs of steam were visible from everyone's mouth.’
      • ‘Soon the ancient valley echoed to the sounds of grunting throwers, whose shots raised puffs of dust as they landed with a thud on the bare, sun-baked earth.’
    3. 1.3 An act of drawing quickly on a pipe, cigarette, or cigar.
      ‘he took a puff of his cigar’
      • ‘In return, Al took a big puff on his cigar and exhaled a cloud of smoke that curled around Sam's face.’
      • ‘They were laughing loudly and drew puffs on their cigarettes when the guards weren't looking.’
      • ‘He sank back down into his chair and took another puff of his cigar.’
      • ‘He took a puff from his French cigarette and smiled.’
      • ‘The Rat Cutter took a few defiant puffs on his cigar.’
      • ‘A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a period of 5 minutes that the cigarette is lit.’
      • ‘These chance meetings take place in front of the general buzz of rich collectors, some of whom puff on cigars, tycoon-like, only a few steps from renaissance oils.’
      • ‘An average puff of a cigarette has been estimated to contain 4 billion particles of dust.’
      • ‘And he had his ice cream, a little puff on his cigar, and then, back to bed.’
      • ‘He took a long puff of his cigar then sighed, blowing a steady stream of smoke.’
      • ‘I've only ever had a couple of puffs of a cigarette, and I found it a thoroughly unpleasant experience (although I have to admit to being partial to the odd cigar now and then).’
      • ‘But often one sip of spirits or a few puffs of a cigarette are enough to satisfy their curiosity for a while at least.’
      • ‘He is so lazy that he dozes off in the time between two puffs of his cigarette.’
      • ‘Smokers who received methoxsalen plus nicotine smoked fewer cigarettes, had longer intervals between cigarettes, and took fewer puffs on each cigarette.’
      • ‘In between puffs on the ever-present cigarette he will reminisce about golf for hours.’
      • ‘Cat looked down, and took a puff from her cigarette.’
      • ‘He bent down and picked up the still-burning cigarette and took a puff.’
      • ‘I've had exactly two puffs on a cigarette, in high school.’
      • ‘And so it was that not 48 hours after major surgery, my little mother was once again home, ensconced in her armchair, taking long, therapeutic puffs on her cigarette.’
      • ‘‘I can talk until I'm blue in the face,’ he once famously said, in between puffs on his Dominican cigar.’
    4. 1.4British informal mass noun Breath.
      ‘after a chase of over three miles he had finally run out of puff’
      • ‘Masters of the last-gasp victory, Cranfield finally ran out of puff in the grand final of the popular University Challenge.’
      • ‘Scotland isn't very good at blowing its own trumpet, but luckily Tommy has puff to spare.’
      • ‘I'm not as young as I was, though, and I ran out of puff on the way back.’
      • ‘It is the one Grand Slam she has not won and, provided she can regain enough puff, she wants to have a crack at redressing that balance.’
      • ‘The kind of place, in fact, where mere mortals who ran out of puff on steep hills and couldn't stay upright on skis would not get much joy.’
      • ‘His game plan was simple: keep the old man running around for as long as possible and wait for him to run out of puff.’
      • ‘Start blowing them up the day before - a lot of balloons takes a lot of puff.’
      • ‘This is now becoming a season of excuses from players and managers and the bottom line appears to be that the poor luvvies on the field have run out of puff.’
      • ‘As they became ever more nervy when a clinching second failed to arrive, Celtic betrayed themselves as a team collectively running out of puff.’
      • ‘She said: ‘It's been harder to play since I've been pregnant as I run out of puff more easily.’’
      • ‘John has more puff than ever because he's stubbed out his smoking habit.’
      • ‘Defending himself Mr Stickley said: ‘I suffer from asthma and so I could not bring up enough puff for the test.’’
      • ‘When she's not playing her instrument, Mrs Jackson still uses plenty of puff by whizzing round Amesbury on her mountain bike.’
      • ‘England were able to shift the heavier Welsh pack around the paddock, presuming that the men in red shirts would run out of puff.’
      • ‘Counter-punchers, by their very nature, are always chasing the aggressor and after years of running to get to the top and two years of staying there, he began to run out of puff.’
      • ‘There are short cuts to the start if you're running out of puff or towing a trailer.’
      • ‘I would estimate that Leeds scored 24 or so points on skill, and the rest on still being on the park after Toulouse ran out of puff.’
      • ‘And let's face it: he wouldn't be much use if, by the time he got to the scene of an accident, he was too out of puff to do anything to help.’
      • ‘Two musicians had enough puff left over after blowing their instruments to chase a thief who stole their band's collection bucket.’
      • ‘Although just over half the distance of the London Marathon, the walkers needed a lot of puff to complete the trek around Canvey.’
  • 2usually with modifier or in combination A light pastry case, typically one made of puff pastry, containing a sweet or savoury filling.

    ‘a jam puff’
    • ‘The puff shell felt a bit too tough to my taste but it might have been because it was a day old, which wasn't their fault.’
    • ‘I went to searching for some café ole and some puff pastries.’
    • ‘There were chocolate cake, chocolate mouse, ice cream, crème caramel, cheesecake and custard puffs.’
    • ‘But for a truly memorable cheese moment, serve gougères, the famous cheese puffs of Burgundy.’
    • ‘The wrapper may be plain bread dough but rich layered pastry is more characteristic, either filo or rough puff paste, made by the familiar sequence of buttering, folding, and rolling.’
    • ‘So why do some people think it is about barbecued pork buns, sticky rice in lotus-leaf parcels and shredded yam puffs?’
    • ‘Maybe I can strike up a deal - I'll trade Eleven Madison Park my recipe for a proper Manhattan if they'll let me in on the secrets of those cheese puffs.’
    • ‘Crucially, the food items like samosas, pastries, puffs, wraps, sandwiches and the like as well as the water are to be periodically tested for quality, he promises.’
    • ‘Different pastries perform different functions, but whether it is puff, shortcrust or filo, first impressions count.’
    • ‘We started, as usual, with a mixed entrée including spring rolls, Thai fish cakes, money bags and curry puffs.’
    • ‘Venison steaks (or a boned roasting joint) may be encased in puff or shortcrust pastry, in the same way as fillet of beef.’
    • ‘The repeated harping on the weight issue made me cringe in my seat, and yes, as you had read, regret eating that custard puff.’
    • ‘The parcel was in fact a huge piece of puff pasty filled with a rather creamy concoction of mushrooms and chestnuts.’
    • ‘After the dough has expanded into airy puffs in the oven, puncture the puffs to release the steam, then bake a few more minutes to firm and crisp shell.’
    • ‘The apple puff pancake makes a delightful brunch dish - or a unique supper dessert.’
    • ‘Instead of reaching for every sausage puff in your path, make an attempt to go for just the good stuff.’
    • ‘Executive Chef Sunny produced the traditional Breakfast Pie, and Chef Winai with Bua served the curry puffs and Stolichnaya.’
    • ‘So does a wonderful dessert of fried plantain puffs centered with a pudding-like custard that's slightly sweet against the banana tartness.’
    • ‘I resorted to defrosting a lemon, mixing it into the sliced fruit with some sugar and then wrapping the whole lot in puff pasty.’
    • ‘You can even make gougères, or cheese puffs, by omitting the sugar and adding grated cheese to the dough.’
  • 3informal A review of a work of art, book, or theatrical production, especially an excessively complimentary one.

    ‘the publishers sent him a copy of the book hoping for a puff’
    • ‘It stemmed from 17th-cent. abstracts of books and comments on publishers' puffs.’
    • ‘Kate's publisher offers us two brief ‘reviews’, which most of us would call puffs, from other writers, and a link to a longer review in the New York Times.’
    • ‘The other two books were by British authors, both of them well known in the thriller genre, and both books had covers which carried enthusiastic puffs from big names.’
    favourable mention, piece of publicity, favourable review, advertisement, promotion, recommendation, commendation, mention, good word, commercial
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1British An advertisement, especially one exaggerating the value of the goods advertised.
      ‘the distinction between a trader's puff and a statement having legal significance is a fine one’
      mass noun ‘extravagant statements are regarded as salesman's puff’
      • ‘This document might in other circumstances not be taken too seriously, and be treated as a mere advertising puff, in which a strict regard for the truth is not to be expected.’
      • ‘Dr. Worden, an expert called by Wang, gave his opinion that many of the statements in the Response were salesmen's puff.’
      • ‘What they really want is a simple, functional, informative experience which loads quickly and has a minimum of advertising puff masquerading as content.’
      • ‘The Big Caff, despite the promotional puff was actually quite small and bleak.’
      • ‘Not all statements are contractual in nature as some may be mere representations or commendatory puffs which, if true, lack any legal value.’
      publicity, advertising, promotion, marketing, propaganda, push, puffery, build-up, boosting
      View synonyms
  • 4A gathered mass of material in a dress or other garment.

    • ‘You watch her too, you watch her all the time. You were there when she was nobody, in the days when she still wore frills and shoulder puffs and smiled that terribly shy smile you thought was beautiful.’
    • ‘The purple curtain parted in billowing puffs, discharging a man dressed in white robes adorned with blue and purple sashes.’
    • ‘I used a Sky Blue Bridal Satin for the main dress and White Bridal Satin with White Organza overlays as the skirt puffs and sleeves.’
    • ‘The dress was of white silk, with a low, deep, front, tight bodice and tiny cuffed sleeves, really more puffs of fabric than actual sleeves.’
    • ‘Anyways, this sleeves of this dress are examples of ‘deflated puffs.’’
    1. 4.1 A rolled protuberant mass of hair.
      ‘her hair was drawn up into a series of padded puffs and curves’
      • ‘Her puffs of tobacco-brown hair billowing about her shoulders.’
      • ‘In a matter of minutes, an unexpected shower left me with two Afro puffs screwed down to my scalp.’
      • ‘With her puff of black hair and sharp violet eyes, she shone out from among the other homogenous bland and blonde MGM beauties of her time, suggesting intelligence behind the acting.’
      • ‘From crimped waves to Afro puffs, fringed ends to soft waves, hair that gets noticed for being anything but flat is where it's at.’
      • ‘Renee coloured mildly, and tossed one cloud-like puff of brown hair over her shoulder to cover her face.’
    2. 4.2North American An eiderdown.
      ‘the snowy beds were piled with plump pillows and puffs’
      • ‘In the center a low table was set up surrounded with chairs, pillows and puffs.’
      • ‘I rolled back onto the bed feeling the residual warmth of our bodies still radiating from the pillows and puff.’
  • 5A powder puff.

    ‘she sent her a box of dusting powder with a swansdown puff’
    • ‘Alex opened the cardboard box and inside was powder and a puff.’
    • ‘With that, he grabbed a puff and began powdering his face with limp wrists.’

verb

  • 1no object Breathe in repeated short gasps.

    ‘exercises that make you puff’
    • ‘She noticed that she had crawled under the table, puffing and breathing hard.’
    • ‘You don't blow; you puff from deep down in your throat.’
    • ‘Even with his offending ankle numbed by a painkiller shot, he appeared uncomfortable, huffing and puffing and repeatedly tying his shoe between pitches.’
    • ‘Bill is puffing and blowing, but there is a look of ineffable peace and growing content on his rose-pink features.’
    • ‘And being Scottish we have about four layers of clothing too many and are pink-faced and puffing in a decidedly imperfect not straight-out-of-a-brochure kind of a way.’
    • ‘When he finally made it to the venue of Lord Fraser's inquiry into the new Scottish parliament building he was huffing and puffing - and was aghast to be met by a further flight of stairs to the waiting room for witnesses.’
    • ‘Taylor wasn't the only Scottish forward puffing and blowing towards the end of the game, and when it came to tempo there was only one team dictating it.’
    • ‘Lionel was puffing, and his speech came haltingly, in short phrases and words.’
    • ‘Casey ran around the small oval, puffing and panting, limping on her left foot, the blister throbbing excruciatingly.’
    • ‘I'll be back this week, puffing and panting away in the outside lane while grey heads rocket past me at the speed of sound.’
    • ‘All you can hear is the swishing of the sled runners across the snow, the pitter-patter of the dogs' feet, and my own breathing as I puff through a scarf that's matted with ice crystals.’
    • ‘Even during exercise, when we need more oxygen, we tend to get it by breathing faster - huffing and puffing - not by breathing deeper, says Davenport.’
    • ‘But it didn't matter, for at that moment, the door burst open, and a short man entered the room, puffing and wheezing heavily.’
    • ‘We sat in silence for a few minutes until our peace was shattered as a messenger ran up to us, puffing and panting.’
    • ‘Adam swayed back and forth, gasping and puffing.’
    • ‘By the time I'm on the third or fourth interval, I'm huffing and puffing down along the Hudson River, wondering how the hell it was possible I actually ran a marathon some five months ago.’
    • ‘She slid into the seat behind me, huffing and puffing like she was breathing with one lung.’
    • ‘Mack pounded over to them, puffing and panting like he'd just run the marathon.’
    • ‘I puffed and panted and managed to move the first case a couple of inches but no more.’
    • ‘Sometimes he would throw himself down on the towel rack, panting and puffing in total exhaustion.’
    breathe heavily, breathe loudly, breathe quickly, breathe rapidly, pant, puff and pant, puff and blow, blow
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with adverbial Move with short, noisy breaths or bursts of air or steam.
      ‘the train came puffing in’
      • ‘To his left and right, men broke from the packing of their supplies to watch him run down the row, steam puffing from the horse's nostrils.’
      • ‘It was Christmas Day the following day and as she looked through the carriage window, she could only see a desolate blackness, the fields flying by as the train puffed and rattled towards home.’
      • ‘Mist on the mountain draws me back sun on the sea so grand steam trains puffing on the railroad track away in the Isle of Man.’
      • ‘In Victoria Square, under a clear blue sky with the frost just off the grass and a crowd puffing little balls of steam into the air, a mass of bands waited for the off.’
      • ‘Steam locomotives no longer puff their way along the 200-km line from Bangkok to the Thai royal sea resort of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand.’
      • ‘We drew apart, the mist from our breath puffing into each other's faces.’
      • ‘Rain poured down, stinging her eyes, warm breath puffing in front of her face.’
      • ‘There was complete and utter silence as Maggie looked around and the train puffed slowly away, gaining speed until it was a speck at the end of the valley.’
      • ‘That train puffed along - the sounds of the shovelling of coal could be heard, then the brakes as it slowed at the end of the track.’
      • ‘During rush hour in the mornings and afternoons, Caribbean cities are dominated by metal, plastic and rubber objects, puffing hydrocarbons and other gases into the atmosphere.’
      • ‘His mouth got wider than it seemed possible, puffing short bursts of air out trying to make it sound like a laugh.’
      • ‘The train puffed away into the distance, the funnel trailing black and white clouds as it departed.’
      • ‘This year, we made the journey to Mallaig by car, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and even catching a glimpse of the Jacobite train as she puffed her way north.’
      • ‘Crisp wafts of frozen breath puffed from his gritted teeth.’
      • ‘It is a million miles away from the romantic shots of steam trains puffing their way across rural landscapes that most of us are used to.’
      • ‘And the small groups of people standing, with their heads bare and bowed, in the fields as the train carrying us all to Oxfordshire puffed its way to his chosen resting place.’
      • ‘Even if trains aren't your thing, ask for a demonstration anyway, and be intrigued by the sounds of the miniature trains puffing along the track, the shovelling of coal and the hiss of the brakes.’
      • ‘And Knysna, where you can board the Outeniqua Choo-Tjoe, a tiny steam train that puffs its way round the lagoon to George, down the coast.’
      • ‘Their breath puffed in rapid white clouds that hung in the air as they stood there and panted, watching me with wide eyes.’
      • ‘He was puffing in short breaths and barely noticed his daughter pointing in the direction ahead of her.’
    2. 1.2 Smoke a pipe, cigarette, or cigar.
      ‘he puffed on his pipe contentedly’
      • ‘Although he is still seeing a psychologist and is still on medication, he seems at ease with himself as he puffs on a roll-up in the living room of his home in the north of York.’
      • ‘She lit up a cigarette and began puffing at it unconsciously.’
      • ‘By the time they turn 15, they're puffing on 15 cigarettes every day.’
      • ‘She playfully took the pipe out of the man's mouth and puffed on it.’
      • ‘I puffed on my cigarette and sat and watched the sun come up.’
      • ‘Gil puffed on his cigarette and sipped his brandy.’
      • ‘He finds her standing on the terrace in an old cashmere pullover, puffing on her morning cigarette.’
      • ‘Simone was now by my side, puffing on a cigarette.’
      • ‘Mr Boddington ignored the notice, and puffed away at his cigarette.’
      • ‘He puffed on a cigarette and tapped nervously to country music coming from the radio.’
      • ‘Candice sat beside him and poked him in the ribs as she puffed on a cigarette, ‘So?’’
      • ‘He'd sit there and stare into space, puffing at his cigarette.’
      • ‘He puffed on the cigarette between his lips and crossed his arms; it was getting a little chilly out.’
      • ‘She pulled the door back and forth to make the smoke drift outside, and left it open before going into the kitchen where her dad was sitting at the table, lonesomely puffing away on his cigarette.’
      • ‘After circling the animal for a few minutes - and puffing on another cigarette - Wills began taking his photographs.’
      • ‘His lips close round it in concentration and he puffs deeply for a few moments, trying to re-light it.’
      • ‘In one hand he held a book, with the other he puffed on a dark, wooden pipe.’
      • ‘One of the remaining models pulled out a cigarette and puffed on it nervously in an attempt to relieve the stress.’
      • ‘Inexperienced writers may choose the obvious detail, the man puffing on the cigarette, the young woman chewing on what's left of her fingernails.’
      • ‘In one lounge, a heavily made-up Chinese hostess with robustly arched eyebrows sits calmly at a table, playing solitaire as she puffs on a cigarette.’
      smoke, draw on, pull on, drag on, suck at, suck on
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    3. 1.3with object Blow (dust, smoke, or a light object) with a quick breath or blast of air.
      ‘he puffed out smoke through his long cigarette holder’
      • ‘She puffs some smoke into the younger girl's face to emphasize.’
      • ‘These days the restaurant's patrons are more likely to be talking about multimedia money than to be philosophically puffing Gauloise smoke into the air.’
      • ‘This may be because when he started mixing up a bucket in the new kitchen, billows of dust began puffing under the doors onto my new upstairs carpets.’
      • ‘It puffed a whiff of smoke and crouched down to their level.’
      • ‘They managed that by mixing vinegar with baking soda and having several smokers puff smoke into the actor's face from off camera.’
      • ‘The brick chimney was puffing little gray rings of wood smoke.’
      • ‘Bert blew on his knuckles, like a gunman puffing smoke from the barrel of his revolver.’
      • ‘He puffed smoke into the gray day, a brilliant smile gracing his beautiful face.’
      • ‘The movement of the cards animates a tiny ship that puffs big billows of smoke and zigzags into an empty white space.’
      • ‘I sighed, watching my breath catch as condensation in the air, looking like I was puffing smoke.’
      • ‘The dragon puffed a bit of smoke from its nostrils and opened its small wings.’
      • ‘Boiling pools of dark mysterious liquid puff smoke of rancid sulphur fumes.’
      • ‘However at one point it puffed smoke which was a bit concerning, and on its final pass a hazy smoke trail could be discerned.’
      • ‘He filled it with tobacco and lit it, puffing the sweet smelling smoke around the car.’
      • ‘I inhaled deeply and puffed a great wind of air to blow out the 18 tiny tea lights.’
      • ‘I remember the smokestack on the train puffing thick black smoke into the air.’
      • ‘Admin blinked at the question, puffing some smoke.’
    4. 1.4 Move through the air in short bursts.
      ‘his breath puffed out like white smoke’
  • 2be puffed upSwell or become swollen.

    with object ‘he suddenly sucked his stomach in and puffed his chest out’
    no object ‘when he was in a temper, his cheeks puffed up and his eyes shrank’
    • ‘By the time the first fight broke out I was gripped - feathers were puffed up to ensure maximum hard-man appearance and then a very undignified battle ensued, involving lots of running jumps and flapping and pecking.’
    • ‘Her long hair was dead straight and pulled back into a ponytail, the sides were pressed tightly against her scalp and the top was puffed up.’
    • ‘Mr. Brawnings looked over at his daughter, whose cheeks were puffed out and were a shade of crimson.’
    • ‘Cover pan and cook 10 minutes, until dumplings are puffed up and cooked through.’
    • ‘His face was flustered with bright red, and his chest was puffed out in authority.’
    • ‘Vijay straightened his Sepoy uniform and stood upright, so that his chest was puffed out.’
    • ‘Her head was craned back in pain from her father's grip and her eyes were puffed up and red.’
    • ‘After all, we can puff our chests out and congratulate one another: ‘We never sold out our principles.’’
    • ‘Orr, who spends up to 10 hours a week training in the gym during the winter and also works out regularly on tour, is not, however, one to puff his chest out voluntarily.’
    • ‘I remember my mom was holding me, and my whole face and my eyes were puffed up.’
    • ‘Even the frog took a turn, standing on a shoebox and puffing his cheeks out so hard that he turned purple.’
    • ‘Some of them avoided republican activism like the plague when there was a risk to personal safety or freedom, but with the Good Friday Agreement found it easy to puff the chest out and ask menacingly ‘do you know who I am?’’
    • ‘She tried her darnedest, huffed and puffed her lungs out, but could not activate the gadget, much less register any reading even after several attempts.’
    • ‘He's got a real physical presence - his chest is puffed up and it feels like he's taking up too much space.’
    • ‘This involves the male of the species puffing his chest up, spreading his tail feathers widely and dragging it on the ground as he chases young females round.’
    • ‘We also get to see Eileen practicing her tattooing technique on an orange, and a man and a woman walk around pretending to be ‘the wind’ by puffing their cheeks out, chipmunk style.’
    • ‘Remember that you're like a peacock on show, so puff your chest up as much as you can, try to keep your forearms just above stomach height so that your bi and triceps are slightly defined.’
    • ‘On placing a damp shirt on the ironing figure, this dummy inflates with hot air in its interior, and thus puffs the shirt up, removing creases drying the garment (it has to be previously wet and undergone a spin-dry in a washing machine).’
    • ‘I puffed my cheeks out and blew a gust of air out my mouth in an attempt to get the annoying strand of black hair out my eyes.’
    • ‘She puffs her chest out and stays still, looking this way and that, up and down, arranging her tail just so.’
    bulge, swell, swell out, stick out, distend, belly, belly out, balloon, balloon out, balloon up, expand, inflate, enlarge
    distend, stick out, cause to swell, cause to bulge, belly, belly out, balloon, balloon out, balloon up, expand, dilate, inflate, blow up, pump up, enlarge, bloat
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1be puffed up Be conceited.
      ‘he was never puffed up about his writing’
      • ‘Pride is viewed as a negative characteristic, a feeling of conceit or being puffed up with an arrogant superiority.’
      • ‘Canada is puffed up that we signed the Kyoto Protocol in the face of a big industry lobby.’
      • ‘These two words connote at once a corporeal indwelling of the Divine (a Divine madness which is necessary for the making of sagacious, artistic utterance), and an empty, arrogant persiflage (as in being puffed up, or ‘blowing hot air’).’
      • ‘He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil.’
      • ‘Snoz, the 38-year-old skateboarder, will be puffed up with pride at 2.30 pm tomorrow when the Lord Mayor of York opens the new, purpose-built ‘runway’ at the former carpark at Foss Bank near Sainsbury's.’
      • ‘They who follow him should not be puffed up with pride at the idea that they are the seeing, the dwellers in the sunshine of Truth, the living who are not dead in spirit.’
      • ‘This conversation made it very clear who was puffed up with pride and obstinately trying to impose his will on others, and who was trying to be reasonable and accommodating.’
      • ‘Not only would private prayer keep them from being puffed up by human praise, it would help them focus their hearts on God, removing them from the distractions of the world.’
      • ‘‘Regulars must not be puffed up,’ he wrote in 1755, ‘Indians must be engag'd if possible and Americans must do our business.’’
      • ‘History meant to be puffed up with nationalist pride hangs slackly.’
      • ‘The Governor was puffed up, already tasting certain success in the fossil fuels industry.’
  • 3with object Advertise with exaggerated or false praise.

    ‘publishers have puffed the book on the grounds that it contains new discoveries’
    • ‘He has not been afraid to publish letters praising his own letters; What We've Lost is puffed in this month's magazine.’
    • ‘Sterne then wrote a letter puffing his work which he passed off as the spontaneous praise of the young singer, Catherine Fourmantel, then his mistress.’
    advertise, promote, give publicity to, publicize, push, recommend, commend, endorse, put in a good word for, beat the drum for
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Phrases

  • in all one's puff

    • informal In one's whole life.

      ‘did you ever see anything more pretentious in all your puff?’
      • ‘One week before the exam, you tell the pupil that never, in all your puff, have you ever heard such a lovely sound.’
      • ‘This has got to be one of the daftest ‘scientific’ studies I've ever come across in all my puff.’
      • ‘Said fitter is shaven-headed and short, sporting, for reasons best known to his girlfriend, serpent tattoos writhing down not one but both arms, but I have never in all my puff seen a dreamier-looking man.’
  • puff and blow

    • Breathe in gasps during or after exertion.

      ‘they trotted round corners, puffing and blowing’
      • ‘Either way, you have a good chance of running alongside pods of pilot whales as they surface, puff and blow, taking it in turns to keep a watchful eye on the people gazing from the boat.’
      • ‘They form entrances to cave systems that can pass right through to the other side of an island, hence they can puff and blow with the tidal difference.’
      • ‘‘No pecs, no sex,’ barks Pilates Pam, who must be pushing 60 and has the figure of an Olympic sprinter, as we puff and blow and our wobbly thighs tremble.’
      • ‘‘The best thing for being sad,’ replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, ‘is to learn something.’’
      breathe heavily, breathe loudly, breathe quickly, breathe rapidly, pant, puff and pant, puff and blow, blow
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Origin

Middle English: imitative of the sound of a breath, perhaps from Old English pyf (noun), pyffan (verb).

Pronunciation

puff

/pʌf/