1a short, explosive burst of breath or wind:a puff of wind swung the weathervane around
the sound of air or vapor escaping suddenly:the whistle and puff of steam
a small quantity of vapor or smoke, emitted in one blast:the fire breathed out a puff of blue smoke
an act of drawing quickly on a pipe, cigarette, or cigar:he took a puff of his cigar
2 [usually with modifier or in combination] a light pastry case, typically one made of puff pastry, containing a sweet or savory filling:a cream puff
a gathered mass of material in a dress or other garment.
a rolled protuberant mass of hair.
a powder puff.
North American a soft quilt:plump pillows and puffs
3 informal 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
British an advertisement, especially one exaggerating the value of the goods advertised.
1 [no object] breathe in repeated short gasps:exercises that make you puff
[with adverbial] (of a person, engine, etc.) move with short, noisy breaths or bursts of air or steam:the train came puffing in
smoke a pipe, cigarette, or cigar:he puffed on his pipe contentedly
[with object] blow (dust, smoke, or a light object) in a specified direction with a quick breath or blast of air:he lighted his pipe and puffed forth smoke
move through the air in short bursts:his breath puffed out like white smoke
2 (puff something out/up or puff out/up) cause to swell 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
(be puffed up) be conceited:he was never puffed up about his writing
3 [with object] advertise with exaggerated or false praise:publishers have puffed the book on the grounds that it contains new discoveries
Middle English: imitative of the sound of a breath, perhaps from Old Englishpyf (noun), pyffan (verb)