: 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 Instead, each of those cultural gaffes was committed by Donald Trump, a guy born in Queens who has spent his adult life in Manhattan and Palm Beach. Paul Waldman, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 Because of their steadfast allegiance to Trump, his core supporters may be more willing to overlook any gaffes or signs of decline, Stromer-Galley said. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 13 Feb. 2024 Even small gaffes can take on a life of their own at the shop, where many clients join Mr. Trujillo in mocking the president. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2024 This followed two recent similar gaffes involving the leaders of France and Germany. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 10 Feb. 2024 Enlarge The hackers who recently broke into Microsoft’s network and monitored top executives’ email for two months did so by gaining access to an aging test account with administrative privileges, a major gaffe on the company's part, a researcher said. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 26 Jan. 2024 At the same time, Trump will be splitting his campaign schedule with court appearances, and Biden’s advisers seem to think that fewer outings mean fewer opportunities for falls, flubs, and gaffes. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 25 Jan. 2024 Football club sorry over colours gaffe Sunderland AFC has apologised to its fans after a stadium bar was decorated in the colours of its local rivals, just days before the teams meet in the FA Cup. Chas Newkey-Burden, The Week Uk, theweek, 5 Jan. 2024 Biden will spend the next nine months mostly out of sight and earshot — to avoid his characteristic gaffes and to keep the spotlight on Trump. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 See More

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 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a noticeable mistake especially of manners

More from Merriam-Webster on gaffe

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