To weaken or make less dangerous. Taken from the "Nerf" brand name, which makes sports equipment toys out of a soft foam (e.g., the Nerf football is soft foam rather than the hard leather of a real football). Used frequently in the context of computer game balance changes.
"The chaingun was awesome til they nerfed it, now you can't hit shit with it."
by PecosBill June 6, 2003
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To make worse or weaken, usually in the context of weakening something in order to balance out a game.
Why the hell did Blizzard nerf Marines' attack damage?
by Koopa January 3, 2003
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it's nerf or nothin
by Autudell July 7, 2020
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To diminish the power or effectiveness of...
To make less potent.

Originally, this was a product line of foam based toys for children. It was adopted by the online gaming community to refer to the reduction in power of a game feature for the sake of balance.

This term is now seeing more widespread generic usage, usually in reference to mechanical devices, or personal powers within a business framework.

antonyms: Buff(v), Spike(v)
My dad totally nerfed my access to the internet. Life suxx0rz since the advent of the NetNanny!

Did you hear that Henley got Nerfed?? It's probably because he handled the Parker account so poorly.
by PythonDragon May 13, 2004
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Usually in first person shooters and RPGs, when game developers think a weapon is far too powerful, and threatens the stability of the game, and weakens the aspects of that power drmatically to rebalance it.
When diablo 2 came out, everyone played either a necromancer or a barbarian. Now necromancers is nerfed to a point where its intolerably difficult to duel against other players without people just dodging your summoned minions and shove a axe into your face.
by Chang Tan October 26, 2003
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Nerfs are grumpy, antlered herbivores, resembling yaks, raised on many planets, including Alderaan, Gestron and Corellia, for their milk and meat. Herders of the beasts are well known for being as scruffy looking and surly as their livestock, and to be called a "nerf herder" (as Han Solo is by Princess Leia) is considered a strong insult.

"Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder!"
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The term "nerf" comes from the online gaming world of Ultima Online.

At one point in the game, the developers reduced the power of swords in melee combat.

This resulted in players complaining that it was like they were hitting each other with nerf bats, not swords.

From then on, if ever something gets made less worth while than it had been originally, it has been considered a 'nerf'.
"Oh man, they reduced the dmg on the berserker class and now it's totally nerfed!"

"Damn, the Devs nerfed those axe's real good!"
by Dave Elliott July 6, 2005
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