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 formsoaf·ish, adjectiveoaf·ish·ly, adverboaf·ish·ness, noun
Can be confusedoaf oath

Synonyms for oaf

1. churl, boor. 2. dolt, ninny.

Synonym study

1. See boorish.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for oafish

Contemporary Examples of oafish

Historical Examples of oafish

  • Didn't he have enough self-control just to ignore Symes and his oafish insults?

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • He was blaming himself bitterly now for his oafish clumsiness in blurting out the news so abruptly.

  • He looked like an oafish clod, even viewed objectively, and Forrester was making no efforts in that direction.

    Pagan Passions

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for oafish



a stupid or loutish person
Derived Formsoafish, adjectiveoafishly, adverboafishness, noun

Word Origin for oaf

C17: variant of Old English ælf elf
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 oafish

1610s, from oaf + -ish. Related: Oafishly; oafishness.



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