a social blunder; faux pas.

Nearby words

  1. gaff sail,
  2. gaff topsail,
  3. gaff-rigged,
  4. gaff-topsail,
  5. gaff-topsail catfish,
  6. gaffer,
  7. gaffer tape,
  8. gaffle,
  9. gaffney,
  10. gaffsail

Origin of gaffe

1905–10; < French: blunder, probably special use of gaffe gaff1

Can be confusedgaff gaffe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gaffe

British Dictionary definitions for gaffe



a social blunder, esp a tactless remark

Word Origin for gaffe

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

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