Definition of puffer in English:



  • 1A person or thing that puffs.

    • ‘China will not become stronger if it continues to have one third of the world's puffers.’
    • ‘Neither of us being puffers we found it quite hard to bear the sweat dripping off our faces from the cooking plates in front of us, coupled with the smoke puffed from every other patron in the joint.’
    • ‘But surely this is just as difficult as policing bars for errant puffers?’
    • ‘It is becoming a taboo habit now and there are far more non-smokers than puffers.’
    • ‘Twain, one of the great puffers, tried to give up smoking but found that it ruined his work.’
    1. 1.1Scottish A steamboat, especially a small coastal freighter.
      ‘that colourful Clyde puffer, the Vital Spark’
      • ‘The Clyde puffers were the fleets of 66-foot-long floating lorries that once carried general cargoes to the islands.’
      • ‘During its heyday, from about 1880 to the Second World War, the Clyde puffer was the lifeline to remote communities along the West Coast.’
      • ‘On a recent visit to Arran, I talked to an elderly resident who recalled that during her childhood there were small puffer boats that people could hop on to travel short distances around the coast, rather than travelling overland.’
      • ‘This is a typical fisherman's pub, full of brass bits and pieces and old pictures of puffers.’
      • ‘This small steam puffer carried local cargo up and down the coast in the first part of this century, before striking rocks at Portstewart.’
    2. 1.2informal A steam train.
      • ‘Everyone had pizza and cake, rode the little puffer train, and then checked out some of the animals.’
      • ‘Another little known activity of Richard's was monitoring the status and pushing for the restoration of the ‘Little Puffer’ train at the zoo.’
    3. 1.3informal An aerosol inhaler used for administering a drug for a condition such as asthma.
      • ‘I am still coughing, which isn't helped by the fact that my puffer broke (and I was so enjoying that being able to breathe thing).’
      • ‘You can also have your breathing tested and learn how to become less dependent on your puffer.’
      • ‘I suck a Ventolin puffer a few times a year when the dust gets too much and my pipes get tight.’
      • ‘I didn't say this because I was just incredulous that the doctor would even think of prescribing him a puffer without some more investigating and talk.’
      • ‘What happened was that I was reading in bed, and I was feeling wheezy so I tried to reach for my puffer on my bedside table, but instead I managed to knock my lamp off onto the floor, and it went out (turns out the bulb broke).’
  • 2

    short for pufferfish
    • ‘I don't think I've ever seen so many little puffers washed up, or even just swimming around, in that part of the beach before.’
    • ‘Further evidence that the several instances of beach spawning in fishes arose by different mechanisms comes from puffers and sticklebacks.’
    • ‘There are obviously plenty of shellfish and crabs, too, because I saw giant puffers and octopus and none looked short of a meal.’
    • ‘Also called balloonfish, spiny puffers belong to the Tetraodontiformes, an order of fishes known for their strange structures and odd behaviors.’
    • ‘There is no shortage of choice, a good variety of butterflyfish, an unusual striped damselfish, puffers and a shoal of small barracuda.’