Definition of gaffer in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡafər/


1The chief electrician in a motion-picture or television production unit.
Example sentences
  • It took five minutes for the names of all the actors, producers, editors, gaffers, grips, best boys, dialect coaches, wig makers and steelworkers to crawl by.
  • It was very tough, we were the crew, the grips, the gaffers, the directors, Rob and I were two of the actors, we did the costumes, the make-up FX, everything.
  • They are great as a unit so although the gaffer won't be there he will be, if you know what I mean.
2 informal An old man.
Example sentences
  • He noticed that one of the old gaffers had a bluish lump under his right ear (he would forget his face but he would never forget his ear) and the girl had a fine golden chain around her bare neck.
  • Old gaffers recited love-poetry, and made the evening shadows creep with more tales about a Greek-tongued demon of the hills.
  • An old gaffer sold me a whole crate of them for the price of a bottle.
3British informal A person in charge of others; a boss.
Example sentences
  • Again and again the contributors write of you as a sort of capo, the gaffer, the boss.
  • The overall squad isn't the biggest, so the gaffer needs as many players as possible and if everyone is fit, the squad is in better shape all round.
  • Everyone knows we haven't got the biggest squad in the world and it seems that every time the gaffer gets another player back in the mix, he loses another through either injury or suspension - or both!


Late 16th century: probably a contraction of godfather; compare with gammer.

Words that rhyme with gaffer

chaffer, Jaffa, kafir, Staffa

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gaf·fer

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