\ ˈgaf How to pronounce gaffe (audio) \

Definition of gaffe

1 : a social or diplomatic blunder committed an embarrassing gaffe when he mispronounced her name
2 : a noticeable mistake Kwan did not fall today, as she had in Friday's short program, a gaffe that left her in fourth place.— Christopher Clarey

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Examples of gaffe in a Sentence

He realized that he had committed an awful gaffe when he mispronounced her name. committed a huge gaffe when she started drinking from the finger bowl
Recent Examples on the Web Von der Leyen is the first woman to hold her role, and gender is seen as a factor in the diplomatic gaffe. Fortune, "How adding women executives alters ‘C-Suite thinking’," 8 Apr. 2021 And despite the thin air, none was technically a home run (a baserunning gaffe rendered Cody Bellinger’s ball over the wall Thursday a single). Los Angeles Times, "Trevor Bauer flirts with no-hitter, gets plenty of support to win Dodgers debut," 2 Apr. 2021 And even with his gaffe on Tuesday night, Gurianov’s speed still represents one of the greatest weapons in 3 on 3 that the Stars have. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Why are the Dallas Stars struggling so much in overtime this season? Analyzing the factors," 1 Apr. 2021 House Speaker Brad Wilson noted that the motion script apparently had the name of the former chief executive, a gaffe that drew laughter from the body. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Legislative session ends as governor praises many ‘good bills’ that passed and many ‘terrible bills’ that didn’t," 5 Mar. 2021 Of course, Wheel of Fortune fans couldn't help but poke fun at Pat's minor gaffe. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Wheel of Fortune' Fans React to Pat Sajak’s Surprising Mistake During a Recent Episode," 23 Feb. 2021 The gaffe wasn’t fixed for nearly a week, giving Mills and Wedington just one practice to prepare for a 35-32 loss to Colorado. Rusty Simmons,, "Cal and Stanford enter Big Game looking for first win: Here’s what to watch," 26 Nov. 2020 Taylor made the rare technical gaffe, accidentally revealing his new website that December by redirecting his personal blog to the new company’s website. Owen Thomas,, "Salesforce’s Marc Benioff is betting $28 billion on Bret Taylor. So who is he?," 20 Dec. 2020 That, too, was a subtle show of leadership as Jackson saw Brown’s biggest gaffe on TV like the rest of us. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Lamar Jackson is exactly why nobody wants to plays the Ravens in the AFC playoffs," 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gaffe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of gaffe

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gaffe

borrowed from French, probably a sense development of gaffe gaff entry 1

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Statistics for gaffe

Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gaffe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
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More Definitions for gaffe



English Language Learners Definition of gaffe

: a mistake made in a social situation

More from Merriam-Webster on gaffe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gaffe

Nglish: Translation of gaffe for Spanish Speakers

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