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[gaf-er] /ˈgæf ər/
the chief electrician on a motion-picture or television production.
Informal. an old man.
British. a foreman or overseer, especially the boss of a group of physical laborers.
Glassmaking. a master glassblower responsible for shaping glassware.
Origin of gaffer
1565-75; contraction of godfather Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gaffer
  • They'll use a stick for a bat, and make a ball from a roll of gaffer tape.
  • gaffer's tape is an essential photographic accessory.
  • Use gaffer tape, point the mic and voila, you have a home studio.
  • All floor cables must be taped down with cloth gaffer's tape.
  • Cords and cables must be taped to the floor with gaffer tape or other suitable covering in all foot-traffic areas.
  • They will still be there when the tuna, gaffer dolphin, and billfish stop biting.
  • On the days people could go out, gaffer size dolphin and wahoo were the main catches along with a few yellowfin tuna.
  • Wahoo is still a possibility, with a smattering of bailer and gaffer dolphin also in the mix.
  • Plenty of bailer and gaffer dolphin are still a sure bet, and a few yellowfin tuna are available but scattered.
  • Offshore, gaffer and bull dolphin have been bitting.
British Dictionary definitions for gaffer


an old man, esp one living in the country: often used affectionately or patronizingly Compare gammer
(informal, mainly Brit) a boss, foreman, or owner of a factory, mine, etc
the senior electrician on a television or film set
Word Origin
C16: alteration of godfather
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gaffer

1580s, "elderly rustic," apparently a contraction of godfather (cf. gammer); originally "old man," it was applied from 1841 to foremen and supervisors, which sense carried over 20c. to "electrician in charge of lighting on a film set."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for gaffer



An exclamation of disgust; yuck

[1990s+; perhaps imitating vomiting]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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