Definition of gaffe in English:


See synonyms for gaffe

Translate gaffe into Spanish


  • An unintentional act or remark causing embarrassment to its originator; a blunder.

    ‘an unforgivable social gaffe’
    • ‘He was forced to resign from the position of transport secretary at the end of May after an 11-month tenure marked by a series of gaffes and blunders.’
    • ‘Embarrassment concerns lighter social gaffes and violations of decorous comportment.’
    • ‘Otherwise it's merely a gaffe, an embarrassment or a row.’
    • ‘The Cultural Cold War contains some silly mistakes and some real gaffes.’
    • ‘Several of his major gaffes were simple mistakes of technique, which over time can be corrected.’
    • ‘Don't even think about ordering in Spanish or French - a diplomatic gaffe.’
    • ‘Only then, having realised their diplomatic gaffe, did the White House alter its stance.’
    • ‘He is disarmingly straightforward about his goofs and gaffes, of which he had plenty during his first go-round.’
    • ‘She was given to embarrassing conversational gaffes; he could be boorish and argumentative when drunk - which was often.’
    • ‘His reluctance to be leader combined with his recent rather embarrassing gaffes has, however, compelled me to examine the alternatives.’
    • ‘Jubilant children can now go to their chosen schools after education chiefs admitted an embarrassing gaffe.’
    • ‘It is said in Washington that a gaffe is when someone slips up and tells the truth.’
    • ‘As in all such debates, the principal goal is to avoid a gaffe which will make embarrassing headlines the next morning.’
    • ‘He was a keen humorist and sometimes it was hard to tell which of his remarks were jokes and which were gaffes.’
    • ‘With respect to the film itself, there are many who take pride in highlighting the several goofs and gaffes on display.’
    • ‘I kept things moving reasonably well and didn't commit any major gaffes or trip over my words too badly.’
    • ‘The incident is the latest in a string of embarrassing security gaffes to affect the software giant.’
    • ‘What they're after is the gaffe or the mistake rather than the analysis of the decision.’
    • ‘Criticism, missteps and gaffes began to characterize news coverage.’
    • ‘We all know some of the famous gaffes that have been performed.’
    blunder, mistake, error, slip
    View synonyms



/ɡaf/ /ɡæf/


Early 20th century from French, literally ‘boathook’ (from Provençal gaf see gaff), used colloquially to mean ‘blunder’.