poof

Definition

Slang

  • noun a male homosexual. The most common slang term in Britain and Australia. The variations of the word go in and out of fashion. Poof and poove were popular in the 1960s, poofter in the 1970s. The origin of the epithet is obscure and the subject of argument. Possibilities include ‘pouff!’ as a supposedly affected exclamation of disdain, or a northern English pronunciation of ‘puff’, which itself could be a dialect exclamation of disgust, a reference to puffed-up with pride, or a Victorian term for a sodomite. It might equally be inspired by the ‘puff’ of ‘powder puff’, or the french words pouffe: a stuffed seat and pouffer (de rire): giggle.
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