[uncountable, singular] a lot of activity that is not well organized and that may cause problems or be annoying There was the usual faff of finding somewhere to park the car. Word Origin late 18th cent. (originally dialect in the sense ‘blow in puffs’, describing the wind): imitative. The current sense may have been influenced by dialect faffle ‘stammer, stutter’, later ‘flap in the wind’, which came to mean ‘fuss, dither’ at about the same time as faff (late 19th cent.).