\ 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

For Broncos Country, though, the gaffe will likely resonate a bit longer. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos’ DaeSean Hamilton reacts to critical dropped touchdown: “No doubt in my mind I catch that and we win the game”," 10 Sep. 2019 Overcoming the gaffes to still win a matchup between two of the area's top teams might be all the solace the Tigers need. Adam Coleman, Houston Chronicle, "Klein Collins overcomes turnovers to top Clear Springs," 7 Sep. 2019 That can difficult to remember, as the various gaffes have added up to a 18-27 record since arriving to the All-Star break at 45-45. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Padres’ focus shifts to winning now for later," 1 Sep. 2019 The big gaffes tend to be Republican, in part because most popular musicians tend to skew left, politically, and in part because pop music celebrates rebelliousness and pleasure over more traditional values. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Deciphering the Presidential-Campaign Songs of the 2020 Race," 20 Aug. 2019 Add this to the gaffes Biden has made in the past two weeks. Melanie Eversley, Fortune, "Will Gaffes Hurt Biden’s Chances of a 2020 Win? Strategists Are Divided," 19 Aug. 2019 The headset gaffe didn't affect Finley's play too much. Tyler Dragon,, "Analysis: Cincinnati Bengals lose 38-17 to Kansas City Chiefs in NFL Preseason opener," 10 Aug. 2019 The room had been booing Grundmann, but the gaffe triggered even louder cheers and jeers from the crowd. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, ""We're a totally peaceful racist group," Straight Pride organizer tells California city council meeting," 9 Aug. 2019 Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who took over the party leadership from the chancellor last December, stumbles from one gaffe to another, most recently hurting the CDU’s election campaigns by condemning a prominent right-wing member popular in the east. The Economist, "Elections in the east test Germany’s creaky unity government," 31 Aug. 2019

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

Comments on gaffe

What made you want to look up gaffe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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