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90s Slang You Should Know


[ohf] /oʊf/
a clumsy, stupid person; lout.
a simpleton; dunce; blockhead.
  1. a deformed or mentally deficient child.
  2. a changeling.
Origin of oaf
1615-25; variant of auf, Middle English alfe, Old English ælf elf; cognate with German Alp nightmare
Related forms
oafish, adjective
oafishly, adverb
oafishness, noun
Can be confused
oaf, oath.
1. churl, boor. 2. dolt, ninny.
Synonym Study
1. See boorish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for oaf
Historical Examples
  • David despised him for an oaf who could neither read nor write, and hated him for a bully.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • With Bill Forrester dead, then, had she turned to the oaf for comfort?

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The oaf's face was averted and they were screened from his gaze.

    The Incendiary W. A. (William Augustine) Leahy
  • Viewed objectively, there was nothing wrong with what the oaf was doing.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The oaf shambled along, his arm no longer around Gerda's waist.

    Pagan Passions Gordon Randall Garrett
  • What was she sent down here for but to catch you, you oaf, you fool, you!

    Phoebe, Junior Mrs [Margaret] Oliphant
  • For a double second he had the oaf alone on his hands and that was sufficient.

    Mercenary Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • The note in Bell's Chaucer, connecting it with oaf, is wrong.

  • At Fontan—when he had vouched for us—we dismissed our oaf, with a light heart and a heavy pocket.

    My Friend the Chauffeur C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson
  • There was little to be done in diplomacy with an oaf like that.

    The Fighting Chance Robert W. Chambers
British Dictionary definitions for oaf


a stupid or loutish person
Derived Forms
oafish, adjective
oafishly, adverb
oafishness, noun
Word Origin
C17: variant of Old English ælfelf
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 oaf

1620s, auf, oph (modern form from 1630s), "a changeling; a foolish child left by the fairies" [Johnson], from a Scandinavian source, cf. Norwegian alfr "silly person," in Old Norse, "elf" (see elf). Hence, "a misbegotten, deformed idiot." Until recently, some dictionaries still gave the plural as oaves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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