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[goof] /guf/ Slang.
verb (used without object)
to blunder; make an error, misjudgment, etc.
to waste or kill time; evade work or responsibility (often followed by off or around):
Exam week is not a time to goof off. We goofed around till train time.
verb (used with object)
to spoil or make a mess of (something); botch; bungle (often followed by up):
You really goofed up the job.
a foolish or stupid person.
a mistake or blunder, especially one due to carelessness.
a source of fun or cause for amusement:
We short-sheeted his bunk just for a goof.
Verb phrases
goof on, Slang. to tease, ridicule, or mock; make fun of.
Origin of goof
1915-20; apparently variant of obsolete goff dolt < Middle French goffe awkward, stupid


or goofup

[goof-uhp] /ˈgufˌʌp/
noun, Slang.
a person who habitually makes mistakes, spoils things, gets into trouble, etc., especially through carelessness or irresponsibility.
a mistake, blunder, malfunction, or the like.
First recorded in 1940-45; noun use of verb phrase goof up Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for goof up
Historical Examples
  • What kind of psionic force would it take to make so many people in the United States goof up the way they were doing?

    Occasion for Disaster Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for goof up


a foolish error or mistake
a stupid person
to bungle (something); botch
(intransitive; often foll by about or around) to fool (around); mess (about)
(transitive) to dope with drugs
(US & Canadian) (intransitive) often foll by off. to waste time; idle
Word Origin
C20: probably from (dialect) goff simpleton, from Old French goffe clumsy, from Italian goffo, of obscure origin
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 goof up



"waste time," 1932; "make a mistake," 1941, from goof (n.). Goof off "loaf" is also from 1941. Related: Goofed; goofing.



1916, American English, "stupid person," perhaps a variant of English dialect goff "foolish clown" (1869), from 16c. goffe, probably from Middle French goffe "awkward, stupid," of uncertain origin. Or English goffe may be from Middle English goffen "speak in a frivolous manner," possibly from Old English gegaf "buffoonery," and gaffetung "scolding." Sense of "a blunder" is c.1954, probably influenced by gaffe.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for goof up

goof up

verb phrase

  1. To spoil; disable; queer: He goofed up the whole deal by talking too soon
  2. To blunder; goof: that can look at a child when he goofs up and reflect, ''I understand and I love you'' (1960+)



  1. A stupid person; boob, klutz, sap: two goofs can't agree on how many orgasms they should have/ High school girls now talk of the ''goofs we go with'' (1916+)
  2. An insane person; mental case: He couldn't have acted more like a goof (1940s+)
  3. One's cellmate (1930s+ Prison)
  4. A blunder; bad mistake; boo-boo: They covered their goof quite well (1950s+ Jive talk)


  1. : You goofed again; it's a one-way street (1941+)
  2. To pass one's time idly and pleasantly; goof off: In Sarajevo, members of a student volunteer brigade goofed and joked as they worked (1932+)
  3. goof around (1940s+)
  4. To fool; kid: Don't goof your grandpa (1940s+)

[fr British dialect goof, goff, ''fool'']



A blunder, esp a serious one; fuck-up, snafu (1960s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with goof up

goof up

Blunder, make a mistake, spoil. For example, I really goofed up and got all the dates wrong. This expression emerged in the military during World War II, along with the synonymous goof off. Quite often up is omitted, as in Sorry, I goofed. [ ; c. 1940 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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