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Jun 5, 2009
This week's theme
Words having many unrelated meanings

This week's words
purlicue
trammel
grig
growler
gaff

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

gaff

PRONUNCIATION:
(gaf)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A pole with a hook on the end, used to land large fish.
2. A metal spur for a gamecock.
3. A hoax or fraud.
4. Gimmick or trick.
5. Harsh treatment or criticism.
6. A place of entertainment, especially with a disreputable reputation.
7. A house, apartment, shop, or other building.
8. A social error; a faux pas.
verb tr.:
1. (to stand or take the gaff) To receive severe criticism; to endure hardship.
2. To cheat.
3. To gamble.

ETYMOLOGY:
noun 1-4: From gaffe (boat hook), ultimately from the Indo-European root kap- (to grasp) that is also the root of captive, capsule, chassis, cable, occupy, and deceive.
5-7: Of unknown origin.
8: A variant of gaffe.
verb 1-3: Of uncertain origin.

USAGE:
"I had murdered a couple of nice halibut, impaling them with the gaff and then happily beating their brains out all over the deck of a friend's boat."
Richard Chiappone; The Killing Season; Anchorage Press (Alaska); May 13, 2009.

"Derek Dingle, a famous closeup man, adjusted the Cigarette Through Quarter trick by palming and replacing one gaffed quarter with another."
Adam Gopnik; The Real Work; New Yorker; Mar 17, 2008.

"'They don't want to take the gaff when something goes wrong,' said Bud Long."
A Dismal Record; The Fresno Bee (California); Aug 9, 1992.

See more usage examples of gaff in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power. -Buddha (c. 563-483 BCE)

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