• WordNet 3.6
    • n gaff an iron hook with a handle; used for landing large fish
    • n gaff a spar rising aft from a mast to support the head of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail
    • n gaff a sharp metal spike or spur that is fastened to the leg of a gamecock
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Gaff A barbed spear or a hook with a handle, used by fishermen in securing heavy fish.
    • Gaff Same as Gaffle, 1.
    • Gaff (Naut) The spar upon which the upper edge of a fore-and-aft sail is extended.
    • v. t Gaff To strike with a gaff or barbed spear; to secure by means of a gaff; as, to gaff a salmon.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gaff A sharp, strong iron hook, like a large fish-hook without a barb, inserted into or otherwise attached to a wooden handle of convenient length, used especially for landing large fish, as salmon, pike, bass, or the like, after they have been hooked on the line. Also called gaffhook. The angler's gaff is now usually made in detachable parts, the large hook, about three inches across the bend, being fitted into the handle by a screw. A similar instrument is used by whalers in handling blubber, and a two-pronged gaff is employed in some places, as at Cape Ann, in handling iced or salted fish.
    • n gaff Nautical, a spar used to extend the upper edge of fore-and-aft sails which are not set on stays, as the mainsail of a sloop or the spanker of a ship. At the lower or fore end it has a kind of fork called the jaw (the prongs are the cheeks), which embraces the mast; the outer end is called the peak. The jaw is secured in its position by a rope passing round the mast. See cut in next column.
    • n gaff The metal spur bound to the shanks of fighting-cocks; a gaffle.—
    • gaff To hook with a gaff; land by means of a gaff: as, to gaff a fish.
    • gaff To use the gaff: as, to gaff for an angler.
    • n gaff In Great, Britain, a theater of the lowest class, the admission to which is generally a penny; a cheap and loosely conducted place of amusement, where singing and dancing take place.
    • n gaff Short for gaffer.
    • n gaff Used in the following phrase.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Gaff gaf a hook used esp. for landing large fish after they have been hooked on the line and spent by the skill of the angler:
    • v.t Gaff to hook or bind by means of a gaff
    • n Gaff gaf (slang) a low theatre: a fair.
    • v.i Gaff gaf (slang) to gamble
    • n Gaff gaf (naut.) the spar to which the head of a fore-and-aft sail is bent
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. gaffe, F. gaffe, an iron hook with which seamen pull great fishes into their ships; cf. Ir. gaf, gafa, hook; perh. akin to G. gabel, fork, Skr. gabhasti,. Cf. Gaffle Gable
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. gaffe.


In literature:

The peak halyard was fast to the gaff, then through a single block on the mast and one on the gaff, and again one aloft.
"The Voyage Alone in the Yawl "Rob Roy"" by John MacGregor
Next day it's Bach, the second seaman, who begins to feel the gaff.
"Masterpieces of Mystery, Vol. 1 (of 4)" by Various
Whilst uncovering the mizen gaff, he lost his hold, fell, and was so shattered that he died ere he could be borne below.
"In Eastern Seas" by J. J. Smith
She's built too light to stand the gaff.
"El Diablo" by Brayton Norton
When we drew further from the shore, the wind increased, and the gaff-topsail was unbent, and a reef taken in the mainsail.
"A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden" by W. A. Ross
The pirate sloop's deck righted slowly and her limp sails drooped from the gaffs.
"The Black Buccaneer" by Stephen W. Meader
Rainey saw one huge billow rising, curving, high as the gaff of the main, it seemed to him, as he grasped at the coil of the main halyards.
"A Man to His Mate" by J. Allan Dunn
It's as good as a gaff any day to 'ear 'im.
"Harding's luck" by E. [Edith] Nesbit
We gaff a bear here, the same as you do a salmon.
"The Young Alaskans on the Trail" by Emerson Hough
She was nice to me, and 'giff-gaff makes good friends.
"Divided Skates" by Evelyn Raymond

In poetry:

When Roben cam to Netynggam,
The soyt yef y scholde saye,
He set op hes horse anon,
And gaffe hem hotys and haye.
"Robin Hood And The Potter" by Andrew Lang
With his own hand fearless,
Steered he the Long Serpent,
Strained the creaking cordage,
Bent each boom and gaff;
"Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Musician's Tale; The Saga of King Olaf XVI. -- Queen Thuri And " by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"Oh, boatswain, down in the for'ard hold
What water do you find?"
"Four foot and a half by the royal gaff
And rather more behind!"
"A Sailor's Yarn" by James Jeffrey Roche
With that sche toke op a lowde lawhyng,
And swhar be hem that deyed on tre,
"Now haffe yow payed for all the pottys
That Roben gaffe to me.
"Robin Hood And The Potter" by Andrew Lang

In news:

New York Times tax gaffe .
Montana paper commits Obama-birther gaffe .
Coach's gaffe costs Lions in loss to Texans.
Gay gaffe not behind Gandalf no-show.
INTERVIEWS Wayne Coyne Isn't Really Sorry for Oklahoma Airport Grenade Gaffe .
Mitt Romney's 'gifts' gaffe .
Referee gaffe does Dynamo a big favor.
"As far as political gaffes go, that's right near the top," Staab said.
Mitt Romney's failed run for the White House was dogged by gaffes that caused controversy and reinforced for many how out of touch the presidential candidate seemed to be.
Vice President Joe Biden had a couple minor gaffes Sunday in Ohio.
Mourdock's gaffe figures in GOP's slipping chances for Senate majority.
Up to $500 for each trash gaffe .
Because It's Never Too Late for Another Biden Gaffe .
Gaffe -prone candidates hurt GOP's Senate chances.
Romney camp silent on his Jeep-to-China gaffe .