a social blunder; faux pas.

1905–10; < French: blunder, probably special use of gaffe gaff1

gaff, gaffe, graph. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gaffe (ɡæf)
a social blunder, esp a tactless remark
[C19: from French]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

"blunder," 1909, perhaps from Fr. gaffe "clumsy remark," originally "boat hook," from O.Fr. gaffe, from O.Prov. gaf, probably from W.Goth. *gafa "hook," from P.Gmc. *gafa. Sense connection is obscure. The gaff was also used to land big fish. Or it may derive from Brit. slang gaff "to cheat, trick" (1893);
or gaff "criticism" (1896), from Scot. dial. sense of "loud, rude talk," which ultimately may be from O.E. gaf-spræc "blasphemous or ribald speech."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The widely reported gaffes had appeared in other oil companies' spill-response
  plans as well.
Gaffes, bungles, and inanities still get covered up.
But he flouts etiquette so reliably that you can't call these things gaffes.
Laughter is also there for all the hitches, glitches, and gaffes that are part
  of our imperfect existence.
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