/ ˈbʌfə(r); NAmE / noun , verb
buffer (against sth) | buffer (between sth and sth) a thing or person that reduces a shock or protects sb/sth against difficulties :
Support from family and friends acts as a buffer against stress.
She often had to act as a buffer between father and son.
a buffer state (= a small country between two powerful states that helps keep peace between them)
a buffer zone (= an area of land between two opposing armies or countries)
( BrE ) one of two round metal devices on the front or end of a train, or at the end of a railway / railroad track, that reduce the shock if the train hits sth
( computing ) an area in a computer's memory where data can be stored for a short time
(also old ˈbuffer ) ( old-fashioned , BrE ) a silly old man
see hit verb
■ verb [ vn ]
to reduce the harmful effects of sth :
to buffer the effects of stress on health
buffer sb (against sth) to protect sb from sth :
They tried to buffer themselves against problems and uncertainties.
( computing ) ( of a computer ) to hold data for a short time before using it
noun senses 1 to 2 and verb senses 1 to 2 mid 19th cent.: probably from obsolete buff (verb), imitative of the sound of a blow to a soft body.
noun sense 3 mid 18th cent.: probably from obsolete buff (imitative of the sound of a blow to a soft body), or from dialect buff stutter, splutter (possibly the same word). In late Middle English buffer had the sense stammerer .