See more synonyms for goof on
verb (used without object)
  1. to blunder; make an error, misjudgment, etc.
  2. 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)
  1. to spoil or make a mess of (something); botch; bungle (often followed by up): You really goofed up the job.
  1. a foolish or stupid person.
  2. a mistake or blunder, especially one due to carelessness.
  3. a source of fun or cause for amusement: We short-sheeted his bunk just for a goof.
Verb Phrases
  1. 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for goof

flub, err, botch, miscalculate, blunder, snarl, slip, bungle

Examples from the Web for goof

Contemporary Examples of goof

Historical Examples of goof

  • 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


  1. a foolish error or mistake
  2. a stupid person
  1. to bungle (something); botch
  2. (intr; often foll by about or around) to fool (around); mess (about)
  3. (tr) to dope with drugs
  4. (intr often foll by off) US and Canadian to waste time; idle

Word Origin for goof

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

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