- See under gaff1(def 3).
- an iron hook with a handle for landing large fish.
- the spur on a climbing iron, especially as used by telephone linemen.
- Nautical. a spar rising aft from a mast to support the head of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail (gaff sail).
- a metal spur for a gamecock.
verb (used with object)
- to hook or land (a fish) with a gaff.
- angling a stiff pole with a stout prong or hook attached for landing large fish
- nautical a boom hoisted aft of a mast to support a gaffsail
- a metal spur fixed to the leg of a gamecock
- angling to hook or land (a fish) with a gaff
- slang to cheat; hoax
- slang foolish talk; nonsense
- blow the gaff British slang to divulge a secret
- stand the gaff slang, mainly US and Canadian to endure ridicule, difficulties, etc
noun British slang, archaic
- a person’s home, esp a flat
- Also called: penny-gaff a cheap or low-class place of entertainment, esp a cheap theatre or music hall in Victorian England
“iron hook,” c.1300, gaffe, from Old French gaffe “boat hook” (see gaffe). Specifically of the hook on a fishing spear from 1650s.
“loud, rude talk,” 1825, from Scottish dialect, perhaps a survival of Old English gafspræc “blasphemous or ribald speech,” or from gaff (n.1), and cf. gaffe.
“cheap music hall or theater; place of amusement for the lowest classes,” 1850s, British slang, earlier “a fair” (1753), of unknown origin.
see stand the gaff.