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[ohf] /oʊf/
a clumsy, stupid person; lout.
a simpleton; dunce; blockhead.
  1. a deformed or mentally deficient child.
  2. a changeling.
Origin of oaf
1615-25; variant of auf, Middle English alfe, Old English ælf elf; cognate with German Alp nightmare
Related forms
oafish, adjective
oafishly, adverb
oafishness, noun
Can be confused
oaf, oath.
1. churl, boor. 2. dolt, ninny. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for oaf
  • Without missing a beat, he transformed himself into a clumsy oaf and gave us three minute of delightful spontaneous clowning.
  • Let's be serious, the lady is a clumsy, heavy handed oaf.
  • Cart this oaf out to the stadium and sell admission to help pay off the debt.
  • He ought to have written the collector down for an oaf and a bully-he had painted enough in his years-and forgotten the matter.
British Dictionary definitions for oaf


a stupid or loutish person
Derived Forms
oafish, adjective
oafishly, adverb
oafishness, noun
Word Origin
C17: variant of Old English ælfelf
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 oaf

1620s, auf, oph (modern form from 1630s), "a changeling; a foolish child left by the fairies" [Johnson], from a Scandinavian source, cf. Norwegian alfr "silly person," in Old Norse, "elf" (see elf). Hence, "a misbegotten, deformed idiot." Until recently, some dictionaries still gave the plural as oaves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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