Definition of oaf in English:

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Pronunciation: /əʊf/


A man who is rough or clumsy and unintelligent: they are just big, clumsy oafs
More example sentences
  • That is, I am insensitive, brutal, clumsy and a big oaf.
  • Our branch contains a fair number of clumsy oafs and we own a hard boat with plenty of deck space for stumbling about.
  • Seriously, if a man is a clumsy oaf before you met him, he'll always have that streak of clumsiness.
lout, boor, barbarian, Neanderthal, churl, clown, gawk, hulk, bumpkin, yokel;
Irish  bosthoon
informal, dated muttonhead, noddy, hobbledehoy
British informal clot, twit, twonk, numpty, muppet, plonker, berk, prat, pillock, wally, git, wazzock, nerk, dork, yob, yobbo, chav
Scottish informal nyaff, sumph, gowk, galoot
Irish informal gobdaw
Australian informal dingbat, alec, galah, nong, bogan, poon, boofhead, drongo, dill
South African informal skate, mompara
British vulgar slang arsehole, arse, dick, tit, tosser, knobhead
North American vulgar slang asshat
Irish vulgar slang gobshite
archaic clodpole, lubber


Early 17th century: variant of obsolete auf, from Old Norse álfr 'elf'. The original meaning was 'elf's child, changeling', later 'idiot child' and 'halfwit', generalized in the current sense.

  • The word oaf goes back to Old Norse alfr ‘an elf’. It originally meant ‘an elf's child, a changeling’, and from this came to be used for ‘an idiot child’, and then ‘fool’ or ‘halfwit’. Finally, in the early 20th century, it acquired the general sense of ‘large clumsy man’, a sense used by Rudyard Kipling in The Islanders (1903) when he referred to cricketers and footballers as ‘flannelled fools at the wicket’ and ‘muddied oafs at the goals’.

Words that rhyme with oaf


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Line breaks: oaf

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