All Words > Luff

illustration Luff



Part of speech: verb

Origin: Old French, 13th century


Steer a yacht nearer the wind.


Obstruct (an opponent in yacht racing) by sailing closer to the wind.

Examples of Luff in a sentence

"The ship luffed up as it turned out to sea."

"Unfortunately, the most direct route home required us to luff up."

About Luff

“Luff” is based on the Old French “lof,” likely based on the Middle Dutch “loef,” meaning “the windward side of a sail.”

Did you Know?

Over its long history in English, “luff” has meant many things, including a noun that referred to the edge of a sail closest to the wind. This is connected to “luff” as a verb, which usually appears as a phrasal verb with “up” (“to luff up”), describing the action of turning a sailing ship into the wind. Luffing up is a difficult sailing technique that risks sapping the ship of its power, but it's sometimes necessary to make a direct trip.

illustration Luff

Recent Words

What's the word?