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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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for goof
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was the external field around the hull that had decided to goof off this time.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • He didnt know which way to turn, because he didnt know which way the goof was going to pull up.

    Test Pilot David Goodger (
  • 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
  • Or was p. 39 this all goof ball sentiment in his own mind, to make himself feel real modest?

    The Planet Strappers Raymond Zinke Gallun
British Dictionary definitions for goof


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

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.


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

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



  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'']

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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