Word of the Day – Doff

Word of the Day : September 2, 2021


verb DAHF

What It Means

Doff means “to take off or remove (a hat or a piece of clothing).”

// They doffed their coats when they came inside the house.

See the entry >


“The public address announcer asked fans to salute the field of 33 cars as they zipped around the illustrious track on the warm-up lap. Thousands and thousands of fans doffed their caps and roared in approval of the drivers.” — Dan Gelston, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 31 May 2021

Did you know?

Time was, people talked about doffing and donning articles of clothing with about the same frequency. But in the mid-19th century the verb don became significantly more popular and left doff to flounder a bit in linguistic semi-obscurity. Doff and don have been a pair from the start: both date to the 14th century, with doff arising as a Middle English contraction of the phrase “to do off” and don as a contraction of “to do on.” Shakespeare was among the first, as far as we know, to use the word as it’s defined in the more general sense of “to rid oneself of” or “put aside.” He has Juliet give voice to this sense when she says, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet. / … Romeo, doff thy name; / And for that name, which is no part of thee, / Take all myself.”