Thursday, June 30, 2016

Cuffed in the Buff

Marge from Suttons Bay cited a story in the Record-Eagle that spoke of an intoxicated  woman who was “cuffed in the buff.” That sounds like something out of Dr. Seuss.

She was found hiding naked behind a tree in Leelanau County before being led away in handcuffs. Her creative excuse was that she was about to go swimming.

Buff in this instance means bare skin, and it refers to buffalo hide, which, after a certain kind of processing, has a dull, whitish-yellow color.
·      Buff once meant a blow, and to stand buff meant not to flinch.
·      Buff also means muscled and well-toned.
·      To buff a surface is to polish it.
·      Buff also meant a fan or an enthusiast who used to follow firemen at work. Volunteer firefighters in New York in the early 1800s wore buff overcoats.

Cuff is also an interesting word. It came from a Middle English term that meant a mitten.

·      Cuff is part of a shirt sleeve or a glove that encircles the wrist.
·      A hemmed trouser leg is called a cuff.
·      The inflatable band used in measuring blood pressure is also a cuff.
·      To cuff someone is to slap that person. It also means to apply handcuffs (Cuff ‘em, Danno! )
·      To speak off the cuff means without preparation. Put it on the cuff means give the item to me on credit.
·      It is also an anatomical structure shaped like a cuff, as a rotator cuff.

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