While looking into this question asking for a word for someone who tries to impress another, I kept thinking of something I heard in the video game Dishonored:

Blow off, choffer!

It is used as a randomized reaction by the NPCs. I've always interpreted 'choffer' to be synonymous to 'boaster', but this was apparently only based on the usage in the game, since I cannot find a suitable meaning for it (online, at least).

Merriam-Webster gives as its definition:

a portable heater or chafing dish

Then there is the similar sounding (and indubitably related) word 'chauffer':

a small, portable stove.

Wiktionary also suggests an etymology related to both 'chauffer' and 'chauffeur', but they don't seem to really fit the dialogue.
I can imagine how someone who is full of hot air is referred to as a stove, since hot air carries the meaning "empty, exaggerated, or pretentious talk or writing", but AFAIK the word 'chauffer' is too obscure to have that association come about freely.

Urban Dictionary has a more fitting definition, but this could actually have been influenced by the game itself: "a general term meaning a person who is a dick, a douchebag, a jerk, or someone who has done something stupid."

The most logical explanation was found on Reddit, a user mentioning it could be a made-up word to establish a cultural distinction for increased immersion (perhaps inspired by the word 'taffer' as an alternative for 'thief' in the video game of that name).

But then I came upon someone on the Steam forums comparing it to "yarn choffer", which apparently is "Old English slang for someone who tells "tall tales"". I can't find that definition elsewhere.

Can someone clue me in on the etymology and/or meaning of the word "choffer"?

  • 2
    Google Books has hundreds if not thousands of instances of "yarn spinner", but they don't have even a single instance of "yarn choffer" (in 40 million books now scanned?), so I don't think there's much point in speculating about an etymology for yarn choffer that predates the Internet. Feb 5, 2023 at 19:11
  • Chuffer seems like a pretty good match, but I have no explanation for how it could have found its way into the game.
    – Laurel
    Feb 5, 2023 at 19:23
  • 2
    Is it possible they’re saying chuffer? COCA shows What's that pasty-faced chuffer want? from the 1997 movie The Full Monty, and the OED says: [obsolete, rare] Apparently: deceiver, cheat, impostor. Feb 5, 2023 at 20:00
  • @Laurel & TinfoilHat That's an excellent find! I think the subtitles in the game spell it as "choffer", but I'll look into it.
    – Joachim
    Feb 5, 2023 at 20:31

1 Answer 1


I rather doubt that this is a possibility, but it’s slightly interesting . . .

There’s a fish — Lagodon rhomboides — whose common names include pinfish, pin perch, sand perch, choffer, and butterfish.

I learned this from a post in the ScubaBoard forum:

Around Florida, there’s a kind of baitfish which hangs around marinas and docks that we Southern folk call choffer. They’re good baitfish. However, I’ve never seen “choffer” referred to in any encyclopedia or scientific article. So enlighten a Southern son of a fisherman: what’s the ACTUAL name of the fish that we call choffer?

I surfaced that, so to speak, by searching choffer minus anything to do with heating: “choffer” -charcoal -coal -stove -heater -heating

Anyway, the fish is of little value except as live bait.

Blow off, fishbait!

Like I said, it’s a stretch. You can learn more about the choffer by searching “pinfish” “choffer”.

Here’s an even longer shot: A Shakespeare-inspired insult? See this:

chough, n.
a. A bird of the crow family; formerly applied somewhat widely to all the smaller chattering species, but especially to the common Jackdaw.
[selected usage example:] 1688   R. HOLME Acad. Armory ii. 248/1   The Jack Daw, or Daw..in some places is called a Caddesse, or Choff.

b. figurative. Chatterer, prater.
a1616   W. SHAKESPEARE Tempest (1623) ii. i. 271   Lords, that can prate As amply..as this Gonzallo: I my selfe could make A Chough of as deepe chat.
Source: Oxford English Dictionary (login required)

Shakespeare’s Words lists three definitions for chough:

  • chatterer, prater, prattler
  • jackdaw
  • rustic, clown

Blow off, chatterer!

Go down that rabbit hole with a search of “chough” “insult”.

Lastly, is it possible that the characters are saying chuffer — or are saying choffer as a polite form of chuffer (cf. damn and dang)? You know what to do: “chuffer” “insult”

  • Dishonored's world is filled with fish and sea. For example, whaling plays a large part in the city of Dunwall, where the first game mostly takes place. I'm still not convinced, but it is a nice association and a good find!
    – Joachim
    Feb 16, 2023 at 20:10
  • 1
    Yeah, I imagine Dunwall is a long way from Florida! Feb 17, 2023 at 4:10

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