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

  • n. A stiff flour pudding boiled in a cloth bag or steamed.
  • n. Decaying leaves and branches covering a forest floor.
  • n. Fine coal; slack.
  • n. Slang The buttocks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Decaying vegetable matter on the forest floor.
  • n. Coal dust.
  • n. The bits left in the bottom of the bag after the booty has been consumed, like crumbs.
  • n. Something spurious or fake; a counterfeit, a worthless thing.
  • n. An error.
  • adj. Worthless; not working properly, defective.
  • n. Dough.
  • n. A stiff flour pudding, often with dried fruit, boiled in a cloth bag, or steamed
  • n. The buttocks.
  • v. To disguise something to make it look new.
  • v. To alter the branding of stolen cattle; to steal cattle.
  • v. To beat (up).
  • v. To hit the ground behind the ball.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Dough or paste.
  • n. A stiff flour pudding, boiled in a bag; -- a term used especially by seamen.
  • n. the buttocks.
  • transitive v. To treat or manipulate so as to give a specious appearance to; to fake; hence, to cheat.
  • transitive v. In Australia, to alter the brands on (cattle, horses, etc.); to steal (cattle, etc.), and alter their brands.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In golf, to miss a stroke by hitting the ground behind the ball.
  • n. Dough; paste of bread.
  • n. Nautical, a stiff flour pudding boiled in a bag or cloth: as, sailors' plum duff.
  • n. Vegetable growth covering forest-ground.
  • n. Fine coal.

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

  • n. a stiff flour pudding steamed or boiled usually and containing e.g. currants and raisins and citron


Dialectal variation of dough.
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Representing a northern pronunciation of dough. (Wiktionary)
Origin uncertain; probably imitative. (Wiktionary)
Origin uncertain; perhaps the same as Etymology 1, above. (Wiktionary)
Originally thieves' slang; probably a back-formation from duffer. (Wiktionary)



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  • "We start to move. 'I'm getting bloody hungry,' was a frequent statement, and it came most frequently from Edgington. He was a known hungry guts. One one man outdid him, Driver Kidgell. Kidgell it was said, could smell a sausage at 300 yards - and hear a tin of duff being opened a mile away."
    - Spike Milligan, 'Mussolini: My Part In His Downfall.'

    April 18, 2009

  • (see also plum duff)

    September 6, 2008

  • To enhance the value of Sunday to the crew, they are allowed on that day a pudding, or, as it is called, a "duff." This is nothing more than flour boiled with water, and eaten with molasses. It is very heavy, dark, and clammy, yet it is looked upon as a luxury, and really forms an agreeable variety with salt beef and pork. Many a rascally captain has made up with his crew, for hard usage, by allowing them duff twice a week on the passage home.

    - Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, ch. 4

    September 6, 2008

  • Plum Duff chromosomes - mmm, mmm, yummy!

    June 29, 2008

  • And the reasons are legion. They vary
    from inherited duff chromosomes
    to car-crash damage and breakdowns...

    - Peter Reading, There seem to be so many of them,, from Tom O' Bedlam's Beauties, 1981

    June 29, 2008

  • Indeed it would!

    Actually I like the "backside" definition of duff.

    July 12, 2007

  • Duff on one's duff would be rather disturbing.

    July 12, 2007

  • Goodness gracious!

    Oh (relief) I thought you said "On one's backside."

    July 12, 2007

  • Or one's backside. ;-) The mother of a friend of mine used to get her kids moving by telling them to get off their duffs.

    July 12, 2007

  • Organic matter on the forest floor.

    July 12, 2007

  • pass counterfeit goods

    March 13, 2007