Etymology of the word “nerf”?

How did the word “nerf” develop to its current meaning in MMO/multiplayer games?

I can remember seeing it for a long time to have the same or similar meaning, even before the explosion of MMOs that happened with World of Warcraft.

(I used the terminology tag, as it seemed the closest fit, though I’m not actually asking what the word means.)


Nerf has it’s own wiktionary entry (with the meaning “to water down, dumb down or especially weaken, particularly in the context of weapons in video games”).

Etymology From the Nerf brand of toys designed as non-dangerous counterparts of existing things, such as sports balls and guns.

Once powerful skills, tactics or strategies that have been rendered significantly less effective by changes in game mechanics are said to be “nerfed”, as these once potent weapons have since been rendered as powerful as the foam toys.

Source : Link , Question Author : TZHX , Answer Author : mattliu

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