In the Buff (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "In the Buff"?

The term "in the buff" means nude.

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In the Buff (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • Going in the buff means being completely naked or without clothing.
  • Some people feel liberated and free when they choose to be in the buff at certain naturalist beaches.
  • There are cultural practices where individuals participate in activities in the buff as a form of expression or celebration.
  • The phrase in the buff is often used informally to refer to being undressed in a humorous or lighthearted context.
  • Being in the buff is a personal choice that some people make to feel more comfortable and at ease with their bodies.
The idiom "in the buff" refers to the colour of "white" skin, which is actually a yellowy light brown or "buff."

The use of the colour "buff" to refer to bare skin was recorded by Thomas Dekker in his 1602 stage play "Satiromastix, or the Untrussing of the Humorous Poet."
  • "No, come my little Cub, doe not scorne mee because I goe in Stag, in Buffe, heer's veluet too."
  • (When Dekker wrote this, "in stag" was a common term for "in the nude." Here, Dekker uses "in Buffe" in apposition to "in Stag," which tells us that "in Stag" and "in Buffe" have the same meanings. Note also that common nouns were given capital letters back then.)
Grammatically speaking, "in the buff" is a prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective. It is classified as an adjectival phrase.

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.