Monday, 13 May 2013


Bepuff, Praise, Reward,


Verb trans. Mid-19th century.
[from BE- + PUFF verb, imitative, perhaps representative of Old English pyffan,
corresponding to Middle & modern Dutch puffen, Dutch poffen.]

Puff out; figuratively puff up, praise greatly.

I often bepuff people and their achievements in Lexicolatry, examples being that of aquanauts Don Walsh and Jaques Piccard and, of course, the man himself, Mr William Shakespeare. No matter how fulsome my praise of anyone ever is, however, I don't think I will ever be able to use the word bepuff to describe it. Bepuff. To bepuff. To bepuff someone. For whatever reason, and regardless of my knowing I'll never use it, I just like this word and it makes me smile.

Has anyone bepuffed you recently? Have you bepuffed anyone? Do you think that bepuff is just too silly a word to even think about using? Do please your comments below.


  1. You say the Dutch word for this would be "poffen". I've never even heard that word in the context of apraisal. It's related to cooking certain types of food a certain way (above hot charcoal/ash).

    The closest word we have is "boffen", which means "being lucky". Though in my dialect (this isn't a proper use of the word as dictated by Van Dale), "boffen" can also be used as "to praise". "Poffen"... not so much.

  2. The definition and etymology is verbatim from the Oxford English Dictionary. I checked that I hadn't made a typing mistake but I can't find one. On googling 'Dutch poffen' I found various sources that list both definitions, that to do with roasting and also regarding puffing up (although I don't recognise the sources so don't know how reliable they are). One is here and another here.

    1. Hm, that's so interesting! I think the term "gepoft" (past participle of "poffen") got projected onto the effect "poffen" has on the type of food you "pof" (certain types of pastries, chestnuts, rice...), namely, the food puffs up. So maybe, in the online dictionaries you referenced to, this "new" definition got added to the official meaning (as found in Van Dale).

  3. May I say, ed, this particular post is likely to change most of the parts of my life that require changing, and that you are a blogger among bloggers. Had the titanic had you as an auxiliary iceberg lookout officer or, indeed, designer, how different history might be. If even just a tiny fraction of the world's most influential people had your tenacity and access to good dictionaries, maybe suffering, oppression and plastic-bag tax would be mere whimsical fodder for inventive historical-fiction authors, in the future that is. Were Obama to consult you for critical advice on the situation in ...

    ... and so on. I hope you find yourself suitably bepuffed.

    -indebted in Seattle.

    1. This is a little bit like the spam comments that I frequently get, which are always so fulsome in their praise of the blog:

      "Thank you! This is the greatest blog in the whole world! You really do write wonderfully. Please have a look at my blog"

      The thing is, I still feel slightly bepuffed after reading them. So yes, thank you, I do feel indubitably bepuffed right now (and I've written to Obama suggesting exactly that, but no reply - these politicians, eh? No time for the little man).

  4. Hello there Ed! I think we all need a bit of bepuffing now and then!

    I love your blog. What a wonderful idea! And a very apt title too!
    It's always good to see another person who is logofascinated!

    Glad you found my spot, so I could find yours!
    I'll be back!

    1. Hi Jingles ... welcome to Lexicolatry ... I'm glad you like it : o )

  5. Do you suppose that Dutch porn studios hire a lot of befluffers?