The Origin of the Word “Herf”

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I posted this on my first WordPress blog and it still receives the occasional visit, so I’m reposting it for posterity and because I think it’s useful information for the online cigar community. Originally posted on September 29, 2009.

The word “Herf” is used liberally throughout the online cigar community and I think a lot of people probably don’t know its origins. I was a frequent contributor to the alt.smokers.cigars (ASC) Usenet group at the time the term appeared and have re-printed below the definitive origin of the term “Herf” as posted by the esteemed Mr. John Chunko on alt.smokers.cigars on May 4, 1998:

HERF… to herf; herfing; herfers; the ASC Philly Herf; the Gellman Office Herf; Herfedor; Fart Nard Herfing; circle-herfs; herf-off; an after-dinner herf; the San Francisco Herf; Gentlemen, you may herf…


The unofficial word of ASC is Herf. Herf is a unique part of speech. It can be correctly used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb, an infinitive, a prefix, a suffix, and an explicative. The arcane word “herf” first entered the ASC lexicon on November 21, 1996, and was quickly elevated to frenetic and common use by ASCers. The Prince of Skeeves (aloys… exposed ASC to the word herf in a casual posting to the group… however it was ASCers, as a budding collective, who took the word and made it divine. Herf is now virulently spreading to worldwide common use as hip cigar parlance.


As for the _origin_ of Herf, here’s the History of Herf (it’s a matter of record on DejaNews)…now Google Groups The word “herf” first appeared on ASC…
——– [post quoted below] ———————————-
It was November 21, 1996… the elections were over, and “herf” unceremoniously beams into our lexicon…And, you were there (here’s the exact post)…
> Subject: worst cigars IMHO
> From: aloys… (Prince of Skeeves)
> Date: 1996/11/21
> Message-ID: <571i9b$…>
> Newsgroups: alt.smokers.cigars
I bought a Canaria d’Oro(sic?)Robusto out of curiosity and it was really a horrible, stale, grassy smoke with a peed-on taste. I gave it about 2 inches before I put it out. Also, anything Macanudo…I tried several when I first began smoking cigars and found them all to be very bland and almost impossible to herf, they were so tightly wrapped. I think the list of `Mediocre Smokes’ for most folks would be huge.

And, the voices of ASCers cry out immediately…saying, “what is this _herf_ thing?” In answer… on November 23, Prince of Skeeves elucidates,
Message-ID: <5770op$…>:
To `herf’ is to draw on a cigar.
The voices of ASC follow in chorus: “this herf thing… it is good” And, in a grand gesture, full grace is shared…

– Show quoted text –
——– [end quoted post] ———————————-
So, that’s the herf story… on 11/21/96 “Prince of Skeeves” (whoever he/she/it is/was) introduced our newsgroup to its very own beloved word And, as a bonus…


Herf… a word which is now spreading to virtually all corners of the cigar world… thanks to the likes of the many and varied distinguished herfing enthusiasts (herfnicks)… such as:

  • the good Dr. Miguelit (used on his many national radio interviews),
  • Mr. Lew Rothman (used proudly and prominently on JR’s Winter catalog issue’s front cover),
  • ASC elder Mr. Bob Curtis (used liberally all over the ICG website),
  • the Hon. Steven Saka (used strategically at least four times in the course of the 1997 New Hampshire state senatorial debate and once as an invective following the debate’s broadcast, which, btw, was televised on CSPAN-3 to over a half-billion viewers worldwide, including the space shuttle mission crew)
  • Connie Whittager, perky weatherwoman on Montgomery, Alabama’s WKKG-TV (used to describe the fog which paralyzed suburban roadways for two straight days in April 1997… in an interview on the Weather Channel, she explained, “…motorists were advised to avoid the western beltway and all lakeside arteries due to a stationary fog bank thicker than a hundred hound dogs herfin’ Hondurans in a hayloft”, and
  • by Jorge Jesus Delgado, Jr., now departed, (who ardently pleaded to “herf a cigar” before his execution in the Texas death-house in October 1997)……just to mention a few of the notables!

PS: Remember… November 21 is World Herfing Day!!!

Sorry you asked, huh?!

Regards, …JC
I have attended many herfs, hosted a few herfs, and herfed many cigars over the years. Obviously, there are references in the above post that are unique to the ASC community at the time. The Google Groups archive of alt.smokers.cigars can be a very useful resource for cigar information, as well as some very funny threads. Over the 10-year span that I was a contributor, I was fortunate to have met hundreds of fellow posters at herfs and crawls all over the country. I have many friends today that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. If you have the chance, go to a herf, even if you don’t know one person, I bet you will have a great time! Cigar smokers are generally a pretty friendly bunch!

A Typical Herf Scene

Until the next time,


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