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[gaf] /gæf/
a social blunder; faux pas.
Origin of gaffe
1905-10; < French: blunder, probably special use of gaffe gaff1
Can be confused
gaff, gaffe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gaffe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She has been so charming to me that if I make a gaffe she must forgive me.

    Sylvia & Michael Compton Mackenzie
  • Think what his position would have been if any member of his Embassy had made a "gaffe."

    Letters of a Diplomat's Wife Mary King Waddington
British Dictionary definitions for gaffe


a social blunder, esp a tactless remark
Word Origin
C19: from French
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gaffe

"blunder," 1909, perhaps from French gaffe "clumsy remark," originally "boat hook," from Middle French gaffe (15c.), from Old Provençal gaf, probably from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *gafa. Sense connection is obscure; the gaff was used to land big fish. Or it may derive from British slang gaff "to cheat, trick" (1893); or gaff "criticism" (1896), from Scottish dialect sense of "loud, rude talk" (see gaff (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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