1. n. & v.
1. a a device that protects against or reduces the effect of an impact. b Brit. such a device (usu. one of a pair) on the front and rear of a railway vehicle or at the end of a track.
2 Biochem. a substance that maintains the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution when an acid or alkali is added.
3 Computing a temporary memory area or queue for data to aid its transfer between devices or programs operating at different speeds etc.
1. act as a buffer to.
2 Biochem. treat with a buffer.
Phrases and idioms:
buffer State a small State situated between two larger ones potentially hostile to one another and regarded as reducing the likelihood of open hostilities. buffer stock a reserve of commodity to offset price fluctuations.
Etymology: prob. f. obs. buff (v.), imit. of the sound of a soft body struck 2. n. Brit. sl. a silly or incompetent old man (esp. old buffer).
Etymology: 18th c.: prob. formed as BUFFER(1) or with the sense 'stutterer'