\ 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 There’s a saying in Washington that a gaffe is when truth is spoken inadvertently. Thomas G. Weiss, The Conversation, 8 Apr. 2022 Immediately, the conventional wisdom was that Biden had made a notable gaffe. Michael A. Cohen, The New Republic, 28 Mar. 2022 William has not been the only high-profile figure to make such a gaffe since the start of the war in Ukraine. Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2022 For some gaffe-prone candidates such as Walker, avoiding the debate stage reduces the chance of an embarrassing moment. Sudhin Thanawala, ajc, 2 May 2022 Semitropic had staked $40 million on what appeared to be a record-keeping gaffe. Susie Cagle, Wired, 12 Apr. 2022 In 2012, the Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, committed a disastrous gaffe when he was caught on tape describing 47 percent of Americans as wealth takers, not wealth makers. Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 The Five' panelists react to President Biden's dangerous gaffe telling troops they'll soon be sent off to Ukraine. Fox News, 26 Mar. 2022 But Louisville had a key gaffe at each end of the floor in the final minute. Brett Dawson, The Courier-Journal, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gaffe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on gaffe

Nglish: Translation of gaffe for Spanish Speakers


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