Buff

1. What does buff mean in online gaming?

Strengthen

In gaming, a buff is an effect that strengthens an in-game character. For example, an ability that increases a character's hit points (HP) or attack power (AP) is a buff.

Typically, players use buffs on themselves and other player characters (PCs). For example, before a boss battle, a player might cast a buff spell that increases their party's attack speed and HP regeneration. In many games, enemies can also use buffs to strengthen themselves or other enemies.

Many buff abilities are targeted, meaning they affect only one or more specific characters. However, some are area of effect (AoE) abilities, which affect any character who enters the effect's radius.

How else do gamers use buff?

Gamers may also use buff to describe instances in which game developers strengthen a particular class, item, or ability via a game patch. Used this way, buff is the opposite of nerf.

Example

"Can you cast that defense buff spell before we go in?"
A FFXIV player who has trouble with the game's buffs

A FFXIV player who has trouble with the game's buffs

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Last Updated: February 9, 2022

2. What does buff mean when describing a person's appearance?

Muscular

A buff person is muscular and, typically, attractive. This slang term has its origins in the polishing of materials using buffalo leather cloth.

What is the origin of buff?

As a verb, buff means to polish something to make it look more attractive. This meaning dates back to the 1800s, when people buffed things with cloths made of soft buffalo leather.

Around the 1980s, people began using buff to describe people who had "buffed up" - increasing their muscle mass and tone to make themselves look more attractive. This meaning stuck and has remained popular since.

Other popular uses of buff

People also use buff to mean "enthusiast." For example, someone who knows a lot about movies is a film buff. This use of buff dates back to the 1820s, when volunteer New York City firefighters' buffalo leather-colored jackets and love of watching fires got them labeled fire buffs.

Additionally, the phrase "in the buff" means "naked." As you might have expected, this phrase also derives from the humble buffalo. Buffalo leather's color is similar enough to humans' skin color that, around the year 1600, people began drawing a connection between the two.

Example

"She's so buff now. That new workout routine's really working for her."

A man imagining his buff self

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Last Updated: February 17, 2022

Buff definition

This page explains what the slang term "Buff" means. The various definitions, examples, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slangit team.

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