DUFF – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Everyone has that one friend who makes you look prettier, thinner, and more attractive. Perhaps you bring them out as your wingman/woman, or maybe you hang out with them when you need a boost of self-confidence.

While they may look unfortunate, they usually have an A+ personality and sense of humor. We call this friend a DUFF.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


A DUFF is a designated ugly fat friend. This term is most often used by individuals with a good sense of humor to describe themselves in their friend group or hurl it as an insult to others. Context is extremely important in determining the humor or harm of this word.

Mostly outdated, this term is used most often as an insult to others or in an ironic sense as self-descriptors on social media.

Example Usage

“Growing up as the duff in my friend group let me expand on my comedic repertoire.”

“Are you normal or were you the duff in school who got asked out as a joke and laughed at by boys so you can never see yourself as pretty or conventionally attractive and have become a completely undesirable adult with a personality that won’t quit?”

“None of you have been the duff of your friend group and it shows.”

“My friends told me I was the duff of the group so I lost 50lbs and became attractive to trap their boyfriends in my DMs.”

“Only people who have been the duff know the shallow and fake compliments people give you.”

“Remember when Hollywood made a movie calling Mae Whitman a duff?”

Origin DUFF

DUFF is an acronym for “designated ugly fat friend” and a popular term from the early 2000s. It is primarily used on social media as a complaint or self-description of individuals who are trying to be ironic, humorous, or declare their looks as lacking among their friend group.

DUFF solidified itself in pop culture in 2011 with the YA novel The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, later developed into a teen comedy film of the same name directed by Ari Sandel. The story follows a high school senior, Bianca, who finds out she is the DUFF of her friend group and tries to reinvent herself. Ultimately, she proclaims that everyone is a DUFF because there will always be someone better looking, and we must be true to our own identities.

Phrases Similar to DUFF

  • Fugly: F***ing + Ugly
    • “She looked fugly last night.”
  • Banged Up: Ugly person, car, house, etc.
    • “His face looked banged up.”
  • Mid: Mediocre or mid-tier, not the worst but nothing to get excited about
    • “Their face is a 10 but their body is mid.”

Phrases Opposite to DUFF

  • Heather: A popular, beautiful person that everyone loves and wants to be around
    • “My parents were THE Heather of couples.”
  • 10: A person who is very attractive
    • “She’s a 10 but she plays Animal Crossing all weekend.”
  • Queen: A term to describe a woman who is very popular and/or very beautiful
    • “She is the sophomore queen.”

What is the Correct Saying?

  • DUFF: Designated ugly fat friend

Ways People May Incorrectly Say DUFF

People may mistakenly use DUFF as a term of endearment if they see others using it ironically to describe themselves. You will need to consider the context and strength of relationship is important before using it on another person.

Some ways that DUFF is used incorrectly are:

  • You are so DUFF, let’s hang out.
  • You need to be more DUFF about it.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase DUFF

  • Martha is the designated DUFF for our weekend party.
  • Hi, my name is Angie, I am the DUFF of the group, but I also happen to be the most popular.
  • Being the DUFF in a group of girls isn’t easy, especially if the pretty girls are mean.

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