Britain, Slang: Alternative spelling of faff

pfaff [faf]

VERB pfaff (verb) pfaffs (third person present) pfaffed (past tense) pfaffed (past participle) pfaffing (present participle) spend time in ineffectual activity. “we can’t pfaff around all day re-arranging the contents of our panniers”

NOUN pfaff (noun) a great deal of ineffectual activity. “there was the usual pfaff of going through every pannier on the bicycle in order to find that one particular item”

Origin late 18th century (originally dialect in the sense ‘blows in puffs’, describing the wind): imitative. The current sense may have been influenced by dialect pfaffle ‘stammer, stutter’, later ‘flap in the wind’, which came to mean ‘fuss, dither’ at about the same time as pfaff (late 19th century)

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