Heffer – Its Meaning, Usage & Origin 

Words and phrases are highly interesting, and oftentimes you will hear someone refer to someone else with a word you’ve never heard of before. This can often make you laugh, but more often than not, you can get confused as to what it means.

However, not only this – you think to yourself, what on earth does this mean? Where does it come from and how would you use it correctly?

Heffer is one such word. Essentially, it is used to describe a large woman, normally obese and the word is used in a derogatory way. 

Of course, there’s much more to unfold here, so join us below as we explore everything you need to know about the word heffer. 


We’ll start now by exploring this very interesting phrase. 

The Meaning Of Heffer 

Heffer, which is often spelled heffa, is a derogatory word that is used to refer to an obese woman, typically with a BMI over 30. However, it can also be used to refer to a young woman who is living a life which could lead to her becoming a heffer.

This would be through dietary and general lifestyle choices. Typically, this phrase is more used by men to insult women whom they find repulsive or disgusting – however, it’s not uncommon for women to refer to other women as heffers. 

Indeed, heffer is a word used as a way to body shame others, used insultingly and very often this word will be seen on social media platforms. While men might use it directly to insult women, this word can often be a “go-to” option for internet trolls. 

Examples of Heffer 

Let’s look at some sentences containing heffer and how you might use them. Some of the following scenarios could arise:

“Did you see that real heffer over by the bar earlier? Damn, she was horrible!”. 

“I’ve had enough of this heffer coming into the store everyday and demanding special treatment. She always wants more food for free!”. 

“I was arguing with my wife and called her a heffer. That was a bad idea because now I’ve got to sleep on the couch for a week”. 

“Marriage might be a beautiful thing, but I can’t believe that someone married that heffer. Woah, that won’t last long!”. 

“Look at that heffer over there. She’s got disgusting cankles and a huge muffin top – and she’s got about 10 chins!”. 

Other Ways To Say Heffer

Of course, there are other ways you might refer to someone in the same way but without using the word heffer. You might say things like:

“Look at that girl, she’s a real fattie!”. 

“I have had enough of that fat slob coming in here demanding more food everyday!”. 

“Some guys like to date heffers these days. I think it’s some sort of fat fetish – but you wouldn’t catch me with a whale like that!”. 

“How can a girl like to live her life like that – it’s such pig behavior”. 

Origins Of Heffer 

Whilst it’s not entirely clear, most experts would point to the origins of this word existing in the early 19th century. It’s generally accepted that the word came from an evolution of the word heifer – which means a cow that has not yet been impregnated. 

Indeed, this would make perfect sense as the usage of this word is to describe a woman who is inherently overweight or in some way mirrors a cow. 

Men used the word heffer to describe obese women or to insult women likely as far back as 1835 – however, what’s more interesting is the more modern uses and changes to the word. 

Since the early 2000s, we’ve seen the change in spelling from heffer to heffa for some people. It is not entirely clear why some people have decided to change the usually accepted spelling of it – however there are a few theories. 

Many people believe that it is due to modern technology and the use of autocorrect. When users type in heffer, it was common for their smartphones or other devices to alter the word to helper. 

The word has become very mainstream nowadays and going back to 2003, the word was uploaded onto the popular website Urban Dictionary. 

What we have seen since then are women trying to repurpose the word to provide themselves with a positive term of endearment, since around the early 2010s. However, this has its own controversy. 


Heffer essentially refers to a fat or obese woman and the word is commonly used by men to try to body shame and insult them, however other women may use the term too.