Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large sideboard with drawers and cupboards.
  • n. A counter or table from which meals or refreshments are served.
  • n. A restaurant having such a counter.
  • n. A meal at which guests serve themselves from various dishes displayed on a table or sideboard.
  • adj. Informally served: a buffet luncheon.
  • n. A blow or cuff with or as if with the hand.
  • transitive v. To hit or beat, especially repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To strike against forcefully; batter: winds that buffeted the tent. See Synonyms at beat.
  • transitive v. To drive or force with or as if with repeated blows: was buffeted about from job to job by the vagaries of the economy.
  • transitive v. To force (one's way) with difficulty.
  • intransitive v. To force one's way with difficulty: a ship buffeting against the wind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A counter or sideboard from which food and drinks are served or may be bought.
  • n. Food laid out in this way, to which diners serve themselves.
  • n. A blow or cuff with or as if with the hand, or by any other solid object or the wind.
  • v. To strike or blow with a buffet or buffets.
  • n. A low stool; a hassock.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cupboard or set of shelves, either movable or fixed at one side of a room, for the display of plate, china, etc., a sideboard.
  • n. A counter for food or refreshments.
  • n. A restaurant containing such a counter, as at a railroad station, or place of public gathering.
  • n. A meal set out on a buffet[2], arranged so that guests may serve themselves and choose those items that they desire. Diners usually take a plate provided and move in a line past the items on the buffet[2], placing those items they desire on the plate, to be eaten at some convenient place.
  • n. A blow with the hand; a slap on the face; a cuff.
  • n. A blow from any source, or that which affects like a blow, as the violence of winds or waves; a stroke; an adverse action; an affliction; a trial; adversity.
  • n. A small stool; a stool for a buffet or counter.
  • transitive v. To strike with the hand or fist; to box; to beat; to cuff; to slap.
  • transitive v. To affect as with blows; to strike repeatedly; to strive with or contend against.
  • transitive v. To deaden the sound of (bells) by muffling the clapper.
  • intransitive v. To exercise or play at boxing; to strike; to smite; to strive; to contend.
  • intransitive v. To make one's way by blows or struggling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A blow with the fist; a box; a cuff; a slap; hence, hard usage of any kind suggestive of blows; a violent shock or concussion: as, “fortune's buffets,”
  • n. A blast of wind.
  • To strike with the hand or fist; box; beat.
  • To beat in contention; contend against as if with blows: as, to buffet the billows.
  • To exercise at boxing; box; contend with blows of the fists; hence, to force one's way by buffeting.
  • n. A cupboard, sideboard, or closet, designed to hold china, crystal, plate, and other like articles.
  • n. The space set apart for refreshments in public places.
  • n. That part of the cabinet-work of an organ which incloses the pipes.
  • n. Same as buffet-stool. Wright, Prov. Dict.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. usually inexpensive bar
  • n. a meal set out on a buffet at which guests help themselves
  • v. strike, beat repeatedly
  • v. strike against forcefully
  • n. a piece of furniture that stands at the side of a dining room; has shelves and drawers

Etymologies

French.
Middle English, from Old French buffet, diminutive of buffe, blow.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French, of unknown origin; compare Italian buffetto; perhaps related to the noun under Etymology 3 (Wiktionary)
Old French buffet, diminutive of buffe; see buffer, buffoon, and compare German puffen, to jostle, to hustle (Wiktionary)
Old French, of unknown origin. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The wind buffeted the buffet.

    January 3, 2010

  • I like to pronounce it "boofay"

    December 14, 2006

  • My favourite thing about this word is applying it in wildly inappropriate metaphors. It's great for how it can evoke that image of a table where there's more variety than quality and you have to weed through for whatever is salvageable.

    December 11, 2006