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December 09, 2010


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Noel Maurer

Where does "chuffed" come from? I read it to mean "pissed off," but it seems to mean the opposite. I am 100% sure that I've never heard anyone actually say it. Doug?

Doug M.

It's British English, but I think it's so useful that it's worth picking up. It means "to be pleased with oneself", with a slight connotation of being pompously or naively pleased.

You probably wouldn't use "chuffed" for life's great joys and triumphs, gaining tenure or the birth of your first child. But you might for getting an article accepted in a top journal, successfully losing ten pounds, or winning a bar bet with a Yankees fan.

Doug M.

Luke the S

Good Chuffed derives from being stuffed full of fat and cropped up in the middle of the 19th century.

Bad Chuffed derives from being an ill-tempered guy derived from a Middle English term c. 1450.

I'm amazed that neither has anything to do with a steam engine.

Bernard Guerrero

Online Etymology had both meanings cropping up in the 19th century, and both deriving from the original "full of fat" meaning. Presumably "puffy with pride" and "fat-head".


Noel Maurer

I wouldn't want to win a bet against a Yankees fan, for obvious reasons.

The weird thing about the word is that it sounds like it should mean the exact opposite of what it actually does. I heard it as "pissed off." So I'd be reticent about using it with a non-British audience. FWIW.

Bernard Guerrero

I get the same feeling about "take the piss out of". Sounds like a positive thing. Helpful, even!

Denmark Music

Chuffed as far as I am concerned refers to being happy, although I do know some people who use this word to describe when they are pretty hacked off with life in general.


'Chuffed' is usually used when you are pleased with something, so for example, if you were chuffed with your exam results, you would be happy with them. As for take the piss out of, now that is all about taking the micky out of someone, ok for the one throwing the insults, may be not so good for the person on the receiving end of the jibe.


'Chuffed' in Yorkshire means happy. There are loads of other things which also mean happy now, apparently 'sick' means well good according to my son. 'wicked' means well good to. It is funny how these sayings come about.

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