Meaning of gaffe in English:


Pronunciation /ɡaf/

See synonyms for gaffe

Translate gaffe into Spanish


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

    ‘in my first few months at work I made some real gaffes’
    • ‘his comments are a major diplomatic 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


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