What Does In the Buff Mean?

In the Buff Meaning

Definition: Naked.

Origin of In the Buff

This expression actually comes from the color buff, which is a tan or beige color. English soldiers used to wear a buff coat, or a buff suit, as part of their uniform. Therefore, the original meaning of in the buff simply meant wearing this army uniform.

However, the buff color is similar to the skin tone of many people. Therefore, in the buff came to mean in bare skin over time.

The first known use of buff to mean naked was in the year 1602, in a work titled Satiro-mastix or the untrussing of the humorous poet, by the author Thomas Dekker.

Examples of In the Buff

being in the buff In this example, a woman is talking about a very bad day that she had yesterday.

Neha: I was babysitting my niece yesterday, and it was awful!

Tyrese: What happened?

Neha: Well, she’s four years old, so she has a lot of energy and very few inhibitions. I was trying to get her changed into her swimsuit so we could go swimming at the neighborhood pool. She got impatient halfway through the change and ran into the pool in the buff!

what is the buff In this example, two office workers are discussing an exciting development at the company dodge ball game.

Barry: Did you hear about what happened during the company picnic during the dodge ball game?

Rachel: I heard there was a streaker who ran past, but no one caught him. That can’t possibly be true though, right?

Barry: It’s true! I saw him myself. He ran right past me, totally in the buff!

Rachel: Well, I’m glad I missed that.

More Examples

This example is about a baseball player and how he practices while wearing clothes.

  • Catcher Tom Murphy is ripped like a boxer and carries himself like a U.S. Marine. So it’s unlikely he will take batting practice in the buff to loosen up his teammates, something a Rockies coach once did. –Denver Post

This excerpt is about magicians who perform while naked.

  • And no, the entire show (you must be 18 or older to attend) is not performed in the buff. “We lose our clothes bit by bit,” Wayne said. “If we came out on stage naked from the start that would be fun for maybe, oh, 10 minutes. [Laughing] The show makes you work for it.” –Chicago Sun Times


The idiom in the buff is another way to say without wearing any clothes, and it comes from the color buff, which is tan.