- the act of sailing close or closer to the wind
- the forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail
Origin of luffMiddle English lof ; from Old Dutch loef, weather side (of a ship), auxiliary oar for steering, akin to Old Norse l?fi, palm of the hand ; from Indo-European base an unverified form l?p-, an unverified form l?p-, flat object, flat hand from source Old High German lappo, flat hand, rudder blade, Russian lopata, a shovel, rudder blade
- to turn the bow of a ship toward the wind; sail close or closer to the wind
- to flutter: said of a sail, as on a boat that is heading too close to the wind
- to raise or lower the jib of a crane
- a. The act of sailing closer into the wind.b. The forward edge of a fore-and-aft sail.
- Archaic The fullest part of the bow of a ship.
verbluffed, luff·ing, luffs
- To steer a sailing vessel closer into the wind, especially with the sails flapping.
- To flap while losing wind. Used of a sail.
- To sail (a vessel, such as a yacht) closer into the wind during a race so as to prevent an opponent's craft from passing on the windward side.
- To raise or lower (the boom of a crane or derrick).
Origin of luffMiddle English lof, spar holding out the windward tack of a square sail, from Old French, probably of Germanic origin.
- (nautical) The vertical edge of a sail that is closest to the direction of the wind.
- (nautical) The act of sailing a ship close to the wind.
- (nautical) The roundest part of a ship's bow.
- (nautical) The forward or weather leech of a sail, especially of the jib, spanker, and other fore-and-aft sails.
(third-person singular simple present luffs, present participle luffing, simple past and past participle luffed)
- (nautical, of a sail, intransitive) To shake due to being trimmed improperly.
- (nautical, of a boat, intransitive) To alter course to windward so that the sails luff. (Alternatively luff up)
- (nautical) to let out [a sail] so that it luffs.
- (mechanical) To alter the vertical angle of the jib of a crane so as to bring it level with the load.
Collins English Dictionary states that this word is ultimately derived from Middle Dutch loef. Ellert Ekwall's Shakspere's Vocabulary: its etymological elements (1903) related this verb and loof instead to the East Frisian verb lofen, lufen, which would make it cognate to the French term lover.