What Does Nerf Mean in Gaming?

If you listen to conversations between gamers, you rarely get around the term Nerf. But what is behind this mysterious word? Here we explain where the word Nerf comes from, what it means and how to use it.

What Does Nerf Mean in Gaming

What does Nerf mean?

The word nerf in gaming means that a certain content has been made weaker in a patch. This can mean anything from specific weapons and tools to entire playable characters and abilities.

Most of the time, a nerf occurs when this content turns out to be too strong, i.e. OP. Conversely, it can also happen that content that is too weak gets a buff. Properly balancing nerfs and buffs is a big part of modern game design.

Nerfs occur mostly in online games. But there are now also many single-player games in which certain aspects experience a nerf.

Where does the word nerf come from?

Even though it is mostly used for digital games, Nerf actually has its origins in analog gaming. The term comes from the toy brand Nerf. With their foam projectiles, the toy guns sold by the brand are significantly less painful and dangerous than other products of this type. Thus, these Nerf guns are significantly weaker, thus generft.

Examples of the use of the word nerf

  • After the nerf, the character is really unplayable.
  • They generated the weapon hard in the new patch.
  • The nerf really helped the ability!
  • With the nerf, the entire meta has changed.