\ 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

The only way to win in this media context is to produce a meme-worthy victory from your own mouth, or to force your opponents to fall into a memeable gaffe. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "The Meme Debates," 28 June 2019 But what really sank his evening was a gaffe involving the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "First night of Democratic debate: Who were the winners and losers," 27 June 2019 Avoid a major gaffe, while showcasing knowledge of issues Since O'Rourke and Castro are trailing in the polls, there's little room for error on the debate stage. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "3 things Beto O'Rourke and Julián Castro must do to shine during Democratic debate," 26 June 2019 Traditional venue Oakmont produced a rules gaffe that forced Dustin Johnson to play the last seven holes without knowing his score. Doug Ferguson, The Denver Post, "Pressure for everyone as U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach," 6 June 2019 Even the late-night comics, who have been feeding on Trump’s gaffes for years, were stunned, a Vanity Fair article noted. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The Stephanopoulos Interview Is Another Fine Mess for Trump," 15 June 2019 Cade Beloso flew out shortly after, and LSU’s best opportunity faded away with a baserunning gaffe. Brody Miller,, "LSU baseball season ends with mistake-filled 5-4 loss to Florida State," 9 June 2019 Fans promptly noticed the gaffe and HBO almost as promptly CGI-ed it out of the episode, but the screenshots are forever. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Sophie Turner Says Coffee Cup-Gate Is All Emilia Clarke's Fault," 12 May 2019 The decision to have the nominees’ names read in recorded voice-overs may have saved time, and reduced the possibility of gaffes and mispronunciations by the presenters. Mike Hale, The Seattle Times, "The Emmys Joked about TV’s Lack of Diversity, and Then Demonstrated It," 18 Sep. 2018

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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More Definitions for gaffe



English Language Learners Definition of gaffe

: a mistake made in a social situation

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More from Merriam-Webster on gaffe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gaffe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gaffe

Spanish Central: Translation of gaffe

Nglish: Translation of gaffe for Spanish Speakers

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