The gaffer

i am making a gaffer

This is great! What is it about? Would you please explain this so that a non-native speaker like me, can understand… :blush:

  • the chief electrician in a motion-picture or television production unit.
  • an old man
1 Like

One of my grandfathers used to be called Gaffer, which I assume is a contraction of Grandfather.

I doubt if @wheeler243 is making a grandfather. Maybe a clock?

I’m going to start calling you Samwise. :crazy_face:

Is that 'cos of my hairy feet?

1 Like

Well, that, too.

I’ve been able to do nothing with it during lockdown.

1 Like

In the UK ‘the gaffer’ is colloquially used for ‘the boss’ or ‘the foreman’ [hence the meaning referring to media’s lead-electricians etc].
It’s also used for sports-coaches and any man overseeing gangs of laborers.
It’s also specifically used when referring to the senior glassblower in a craft-glass works.
It’s also sometimes used when referring to your own father in conversation, and by extension to any older man…

There’s also the separate ‘gaffer tape’ [aka duct-tape] which keeps things in order.

It originates from a corruption of the word ‘godfather’…

There’s a seemingly related word ‘gaff’, which by extension ‘gaffer’ could refer to someone using a ‘gaff’

A ‘gaff’ is a several things…
e.g. an metal-hook or spear on a pole used to land large fish or control a boat’s movement,
spurs used on fighting-cocks
and by extension spikes used on boots of linesmen to aid climbing up timber poles,
on a ship it’s a spar rising aft from a ship’s mast to support the head of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail,
it’s also used to mean a bad-mistake [e.g. I made a gaff(e)] - actually that word is spelled ‘gaffe’ - coming from the french for boat-hook] but most speakers won’t see a difference because it’s rarely written down anyway,
and more colloquially it’s used to mean ‘a home’ [e.g. I’m going back to my gaff]…

As a verb ‘to gaff’ means the act of using a gaff [hook], unless you are ‘making a gaff’ !

I’d be interested what the OP Aleks thinks his ‘gaffer’ is ???

e.g. did he mean ‘gauffer’ [or ‘goffer’] e.g. a pleated trim in material ?


Gaffer Hexam is a character in Charles Dickens’ great novel “Our Mutual Friend”. He fishes (with his gaff) dead bodies out of the Thames.

Ah, so not from grandfather after all. But we are no closer to knowing what the OP meant. Can’t be a clock. Maybe a Sicilian overlord? That would be testing, for certain.

I guess that it is about a boat (with a gaff rig)

1 Like

I like gaff rigged boats.

For the “old man” version, I’ve been working on that myself.

I think I imagined the “gaffer” on the movie set was the guy holding the spar (like a gaff) with the mic or light over the action.

Having a sister in the business, that’s the first association that came to my mind. I often think of duck tape as “gaffer’s tape.” I guess they’re not actually the same.

Maybe but judging by certain aspects of the OP’s profile, I think it might not even be a serious post.

1 Like

The spikes on my tree climbing spurrs are also called gaffs…

All this faff over gaff…

Yes, but we’re only having a laff…