Definition of luff in English:


Pronunciation /ləf/


  • The edge of a fore-and-aft sail next to the mast or stay.

    ‘if your luff is flapping, pull the sail toward you to fill it with wind’
    • ‘Nonchalant references to booms and jibs and kites and cleats and luffs and lees and heeling and tacking and pointing high can leave the nautical ingénue helpless in a riptide of argot.’

intransitive verb

[no object]
  • 1Steer a yacht nearer the wind.

    ‘all you need to do is luff up, head to wind’
    1. 1.1with object Obstruct (an opponent in yacht racing) by sailing closer to the wind.
      ‘he can luff you, but must leave you room to get clear’


Middle English from Old French lof, probably from Low German.