• WordNet 3.6
    • n gaffer a person who exercises control over workers "if you want to leave early you have to ask the foreman"
    • n gaffer an electrician responsible for lighting on a movie or tv set
    • n gaffer an elderly man
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Gaffer A foreman or overseer of a gang of laborers.
    • Gaffer An old fellow; an aged rustic. "Go to each gaffer and each goody."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n gaffer One who gaffs fish: an angler's assistant who with a gaff secures the fish caught. Also gaffsman.
    • n gaffer An old man: originally a rustic term of respect, used as a title; later applied familiarly to any old man of rustic condition.
    • n gaffer In Great Britain, the foreman of a squad of workmen, especially of navvies; an overseer.
    • n gaffer A workman in a glass-factory; a finisher.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Gaffer gaf′ėr originally a word of respect applied to an old man, now familiar: the foreman of a squad of workmen.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Possibly contr. fr. godfather,; but prob. fr. gramfer, for grandfather,. Cf. Gammer
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Corr. of godfather, as gammer of godmother.


In literature:

I called on all the 'gaffers' in that business, but none of them would employ me.
"Six Years in the Prisons of England" by A Merchant - Anonymous
Gaffer says it's little missus's, and you're to take it up.
"Cutlass and Cudgel" by George Manville Fenn
But I say, the gaffer didn't know how it happened, after all.
"Nic Revel" by George Manville Fenn
The will-making, even the illness of Gaffer Rutledge, had proved to be a "bam," that is to say, a hoax.
"Red Cap Tales" by Samuel Rutherford Crockett
He asked the gaffer, and gaffer said `No.
"Black, White and Gray" by Amy Walton
My gaffer, Ole, had done me the honour in the forenoon of losing an 18-lb.
"Lines in Pleasant Places" by William Senior
Blear'd Goody this and queasy Gaffer that, Ask the Schoolmaster, Take Schoolmaster first.
"The Book of Humorous Verse" by Various
Gaffer Wiswall was there.
"Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2)" by John Roby
The next place we came to was Gaffer Cook's cottage.
"Children's Literature" by Charles Madison Curry
I've left Gaffer Quelch's, thank goodness!
"The Hero of Garside School" by J. Harwood Panting

In poetry:

I asked of ancient gaffers three
The way of their ripe living,
And this is what they told to me
Without Misgiving.
"The Centenarians" by Robert W Service
I'd liefer bide wi' my gaffer vans
An' travel fra' sea to sea;
What 'ud I do wi' sarvin' folk
Who are used to t' Quality!
"Yorkshire Gypsy" by Dorothy Una Ratcliffe
Priest and ruler, boy and maid
Followed the dismal cavalcade;
And from door and window, open thrown,
Looked and wondered gaffer and crone.
"How The Women Went From Dover" by John Greenleaf Whittier
The Troll he heard him, and hurried on
To Kallundborg church with the lacking stone.
"Too late, Gaffer Fine!" cried Esbern Snare;
And Troll and pillar vanished in air!
"Kallundborg Church ( From The Tent on the Beach)" by John Greenleaf Whittier

In news:

Harpist ' Gaffer ' Venar in Town.
Harpist Thaddeu " Gaffer " Venar from Boulder, Colo. Is in town to perform at Faerieworlds and will also play at 7:30 pm Tuesday, July 31, at Reality Kitchen, 245 Van Buren.
Harpist 'Gaffer' Venar in Town.
Harpist Thaddeu "Gaffer" Venar from Boulder, Colo. Is in town to perform at Faerieworlds and will also play at 7:30 pm Tuesday, July 31, at Reality Kitchen, 245 Van Buren.
The Tetley Tea Folk has signed Yorkshire bakery Grandma Wilds for a new range of branded gaffer's biscuits to Nisa stores this month.
The limited edition includes a blank vinyl LP, in reference to Cage 's infamous "4'33", that is cased inside a handmade sleeve decorated with gaffer tape and magazine clippings.
Take out containers, gaffer tape, carpet tape.
Luckily, the Museum of Glass hot shop is a pretty safe place to play with fire – a gaffer had a damp rag handy, and the smoky edges were, after all, part of the art.
Corning's Gaffer District will host a 10-year anniversary celebration for Mending Your Ways located at 10 West Market St during normal business hours from Dec 10 to Dec 14.
Let's say you're a gaffer on The Sopranos, spending one of your precious workdays in Paterson, NJ, lighting location scenes.
Most crafts couldn't survive the bathtub, but this schooner can tolerate sizable splashes, thanks to waterproof gaffer's tape and vellum.