Nerf



[nurf] /nɜrf/

Trademark.
1.
the brand name of various toys modeled especially on sports equipment but made of foam rubber or other soft substances.
verb (used with object)
2.
(lowercase) Slang. (in a video game) to reconfigure (an existing character or weapon), making it less powerful:
The game development team nerfed several guns in the recent update.

1955, in nerf bars, hot-rodder slang for “custom bumpers;” from slang verb in auto racing (1953) meaning “to nudge something with a bumper in passing and knock it off course;” ultimate origin and signification unknown.

As a trademark name for toys made of foam-like material for indoor play, introduced 1970 (Nerf ball). By 1995 this had yielded a verbal sense of “to make less effective” (as a Nerf basketball is softer and lighter than the real thing).

verb

To bump a car out of one’s way

[1950s+ Hot rodders; origin unknown]

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