: a social or diplomatic blunder
committed an embarrassing gaffe when he mispronounced her name
: 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

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 verbal gaffes that have been part of his identity for a half century were on full display, his stammering evident, his blame easy to spread on his staff. Philip Elliott, TIME, 12 July 2024 White House and campaign officials chided the press for focusing on the gaffes, but scrutiny of Biden's every word has become inevitable in the wake of his dismal debate performance last month. Zachary Basu, Axios, 12 July 2024 Instead, we got noted gasbag Jesse Watters, who naturally dug in on the gaffes. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 12 July 2024 In response to these gaffes, Clyburn pointed to Biden's history with a stutter. Savannah Kuchar, USA TODAY, 12 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for gaffe 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gaffe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1909, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gaffe was in 1909

Dictionary Entries Near gaffe

Cite this Entry

“Gaffe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a noticeable mistake especially of manners

More from Merriam-Webster on gaffe

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!