When did the word “stuff” come to be used as casually as it is used today? I’m looking for an historical date for the sense meaning possessions.

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  • 1
    Which slang usage of stuff? There are several. – Chenmunka Oct 5 '17 at 12:23
  • Sorry I eighty-sixed your question so quickly. I've edited it to clarify that there is no slang here. Now I’ll just twenty-three skiddoo outta here (after having carefully illustrated what slang actually is); roger that? – tchrist Oct 5 '17 at 12:39
  • This is what defined it: youtube.com/watch?v=JLoge6QzcGY – Hot Licks Oct 6 '17 at 2:59

Early to mid 15th century?


Property, esp. movable property, household goods or utensils; furniture;

111 Item to my wyf, all my stuff beyng at the Fasterne (1438)

A grete red standerd full of stuff, locked with 2 lockes. (1464)

The Oxford English Dictionary


According to Etymonline, we have "matter of an unspecified kind" (1570s), which, I think, fits the "Have you seen my stuff?" sense of the word as meaning "possessions".

  • OED says the "matter of an unspecified kind" sense refers to "The general designation for solid, liquid, or (rarely) gaseous matter of any kind: used indefinitely instead of the specific designation, or where no specific designation exists. Often applied to a preparation or composition used for some special purpose," which stuff is/are not possessions. – AmE speaker Oct 5 '17 at 12:36

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