Definition of gaffer in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɡafə/


1British informal A person in charge of others; a boss: street cleaners stopping for a smoke when their gaffer isn’t in the vicinity
More 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!
British  ganger
British informal governor, guv'nor
North American informal honcho, head honcho, numero uno, padrone, sachem, big wheel, big kahuna, big white chief, high muckamuck
2The chief electrician in a film 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.
3 informal An old man: you’ll find the same old distinguished-looking gaffers at any awards dinner
More 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.
old man, elderly man, senior citizen, pensioner, OAP, grandfather;
Scottish & Irish  bodach
informal old bloke, old boy, old guy, old codger, old geezer, old-timer, greybeard, grandad, wrinkly
British informal buffer, josser
North American informal old coot
archaic grandsire, ancient
rare senex


Late 16th century (in sense 3): probably a contraction of godfather; compare with gammer.

Words that rhyme with gaffer

chaffer, Jaffa, kafir, Staffa

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gaf¦fer

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