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See more synonyms for goof on Thesaurus.com
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.
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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.
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  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.
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Verb Phrases
  1. goof on, Slang. to tease, ridicule, or mock; make fun of.
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Origin of goof

1915–20; apparently variant of obsolete goff dolt < Middle French goffe awkward, stupid


or goof·up

noun Slang.
  1. a person who habitually makes mistakes, spoils things, gets into trouble, etc., especially through carelessness or irresponsibility.
  2. a mistake, blunder, malfunction, or the like.
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Origin of goof-up

First recorded in 1940–45; noun use of verb phrase goof up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


British Dictionary definitions for goof up


  1. a foolish error or mistake
  2. a stupid person
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  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
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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

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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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. [Slang; c. 1940]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.