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an apparatus at the end of a railroad car, railroad track, etc., for absorbing shock during coupling, collisions, etc.
any device, material, or apparatus used as a shield, cushion, or bumper, especially on machinery.
any intermediate or intervening shield or device reducing the danger of interaction between two machines, chemicals, electronic components, etc.
a person or thing that shields and protects against annoyance, harm, hostile forces, etc., or that lessens the impact of a shock or reversal.
any reserve moneys, negotiable securities, legal procedures, etc., that protect a person, organization, or country against financial ruin.
buffer state.
Ecology. an animal population that becomes the prey of a predator that usually feeds on a different species.
Computers. a storage device for temporarily holding data until the computer is ready to receive or process the data, as when a receiving unit has an operating speed lower than that of the unit feeding data to it.
Electronics. a circuit with a single output activated by one or more of several inputs.

any substance or mixture of compounds that, added to a solution, is capable of neutralizing both acids and bases without appreciably changing the original acidity or alkalinity of the solution.
Also called buffer solution. a solution containing such a substance.

Chemistry. to treat with a buffer.
to cushion, shield, or protect.
to lessen the adverse effect of; ease:
The drug buffered his pain.
a device for polishing or buffing, as a buff stick or buff wheel.
a worker who uses such a device.
a foolish or incompetent person.
a fellow; man.
a chief boatswain’s mate in the British navy.
a soft, thick, light-yellow leather with a napped surface, originally made from buffalo skin but later also from other skins, used for making belts, pouches, etc.
a brownish-yellow color; tan.
a buff stick or buff wheel.
a devotee or well-informed student of some activity or subject:
Civil War buffs avidly read the new biography of Grant.
Informal. the bare skin:
in the buff.
Also called buffcoat. a thick, short coat of buffalo leather, worn especially by English soldiers and American colonists in the 17th century.
Informal. a buffalo.
having the color of buff.
made of buff leather.
Slang. physically attractive; muscular.
to clean or polish (metal) or give a grainless finish of high luster to (plated surfaces) with or as if with a buff stick or buff wheel.
to polish or shine, especially with a buffer:
to buff shoes.
to dye or stain in a buff color.
Contemporary Examples

Assad: Military ‘Needs More Time’ to Win Mike Giglio August 28, 2012
Seeking a Quick Exit in Gaza Raghida Dergham January 1, 2009
Alec Baldwin to Host MSNBC Talk Show, Demi Lovato Will Play a Lesbian on ‘Glee’ Culture Team September 4, 2013
Karen Russell: How I Write Noah Charney February 5, 2013
Kobani Still Stands Against ISIS and All Odds. But for How Long? Jamie Dettmer October 11, 2014

Historical Examples

Give Me Liberty Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Prairie Flowers James B. Hendryx
The Gentle Reader Samuel McChord Crothers
The Boy Mechanic, Book 2 Various
The Mysteries of London, v. 1/4 George W. M. Reynolds

one of a pair of spring-loaded steel pads attached at both ends of railway vehicles and at the end of a railway track to reduce shock due to contact
a person or thing that lessens shock or protects from damaging impact, circumstances, etc

an ionic compound, usually a salt of a weak acid or base, added to a solution to resist changes in its acidity or alkalinity and thus stabilize its pH
Also called buffer solution. a solution containing such a compound

(computing) a memory device for temporarily storing data
(electronics) an isolating circuit used to minimize the reaction between a driving and a driven circuit
short for buffer state
(informal) hit the buffers, to finish or be stopped, esp unexpectedly
verb (transitive)
to insulate against or protect from shock; cushion
(chem) to add a buffer to (a solution)
any device used to shine, polish, etc; buff
a person who uses such a device
(Brit, informal, offensive) a stupid or bumbling man (esp in the phrase old buffer)

a soft thick flexible undyed leather made chiefly from the skins of buffalo, oxen, and elk
(as modifier): a buff coat

a dull yellow or yellowish-brown colour
(as adjective): buff paint

Also called buffer

a cloth or pad of material used for polishing an object
a flexible disc or wheel impregnated with a fine abrasive for polishing metals, etc, with a power tool

(informal) one’s bare skin (esp in the phrase in the buff)
to clean or polish (a metal, floor, shoes, etc) with a buff
to remove the grain surface of (a leather)
(transitive) to deaden the force of
(archaic) a blow or buffet (now only in the phrase blind man’s buff)
(informal) an expert on or devotee of a given subject: a cheese buff

The Buffs are men and boys whose love of fires, fire-fighting and firemen is a predominant characteristic. [N.Y. “Sun,” Feb. 4, 1903]


Note: Buffers are often used in medications designed to decrease acidity in the stomach.

see: in the buff


Read Also:

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    buffer overflow

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  • Buffer-state

    a nation lying between potentially hostile larger nations. Historical Examples Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 6 Various Somehow Good William de Morgan The Coming Conquest of England August Niemann In the Border Country W. S. (William Shillinglaw) Crockett The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) John Holland Rose noun a small […]

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