The Origin of the Word “Herf”

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The word “Herf” is used liberally throughout the online cigar community and  I think a lot of people probably don’t know it’s 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 un-official 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)…
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 curiousity
> 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 hounddogs 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?!


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 next time,




  1. Great summary. As soon as this came up on Dogwatch….I thought Prince of Skeeves Nov. 1996.

    I had just started smoking cigars in 1992…ASC was my lifeline. There were no blogs, web sites, facebook, twitter, podcasts etc and ASC was just about the only credible non-CigarAficionado resource and community out there.

    Thanks for the walk through memory lane.

    @ChiefHava, Twitter

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