In modern times a British worker might say: ‘You’d better see the gaffer about that’, meaning that it is necessary to consult the boss. He might also, in a public house, ask where the gaffer is tonight, referring to the landlord. Such situations could also lead to vocative usage, but when ‘gaffer’ occurs in literary texts it usually has an older meaning. It was originally a term applied in rural areas to an elderly man who held a respectable position in society. The word may have been a corruption of ‘godfather’, though early spellings show that it was thought to derive from ‘grandfather’. It could be used as a prefix before a proper name, as could its feminine form, ‘gammer’. Thus, in Joseph Andrews, by Henry Fielding, we are told that the hero is esteemed to be the only son of Gaffer and Gammer Andrews. This original meaning soon degenerated, and in the seventeenth century it was possible to address a man as ‘gaffer’ as if one were merely calling him ‘my good fellow’.
   A late eighteenth-century writer says that in Buckinghamshire it was the custom for wives to call their husbands ‘gaffer’. This was probably more the case with older married couples, since ‘gaffer’ retains an implication of age in most of its senses.
   Friendly, but still respectful, usage is shown in My Brother Jonathan, by Francis Brett Young. A drayman who is sobering up after being fighting drunk responds to the doctor’s comment to a policeman - ‘I guess he’s had enough to be going on with, constable’ - by saying: ‘By Gum, you’re right, gaffer!’ In the same novel another workman addresses the doctor as ‘gaffer’ in his surgery, and soon afterwards says: ‘Look here, boss, I want my rights.’ This would seem to equate ‘gaffer’ with the modern use of ‘chief’. There is vaguely similar usage in The Magic Army, by Leslie Thomas, where a Devonshire rustic addresses an American army officer as ‘gaffer’.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Gaffer — or Gaffa may refer to: * Gaffer (boss), a British colloquial term for boss or old man * Gaffer (motion picture industry), the head of the electrical department * Gaffer tape, a type of adhesive tape * Gaffer, character in the Muppets * Gaffa… …   Wikipedia

  • Gaffer — Gaf fer (g[a^]f f[ e]r), n. [Possibly contr. fr. godfather; but prob. fr. gramfer for grandfather. Cf. {Gammer}.] 1. An old fellow; an aged rustic. [1913 Webster] Go to each gaffer and each goody. Fawkes. [1913 Webster] Note: Gaffer was… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • GAFFER — (Goals And Footballs For East Africa Region) is a grassroots soccer organisation which aims to provide good quality community owned sporting infrastructure (equipment and training) to schools and villages in rural areas of East Africa. External… …   Wikipedia

  • Gaffer — bezeichnet: umgangssprachlich einen Schaulustigen, siehe auch Katastrophentourismus beim Film einen Oberbeleuchter eine Art Klebeband Siehe auch:  Wiktionary: Gaffer – Bedeutungserklärungen, Wortherkunft, Synonyme, Übersetzungen …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • gaffer — (n.) 1580s, elderly rustic, apparently a contraction of godfather (Cf. GAMMER (Cf. gammer)); originally old man, it was applied from 1841 to foremen and supervisors, which sense carried over 20c. to electrician in charge of lighting on a film set …   Etymology dictionary

  • gaffer — ► NOUN Brit. 1) informal an old man. 2) informal a boss. 3) the chief electrician in a film or television production unit. ORIGIN probably a contraction of GODFATHER(Cf. ↑godfather) …   English terms dictionary

  • gaffer — [gaf′ər] n. [altered < GODFATHER] 1. an old man, esp. one from the country: now usually humorous: cf. GAMMER 2. a master glass blower ☆ 3. chief electrician in charge of lighting on a TV or film set 4. Brit. a foreman of a group of workers …   English World dictionary

  • gaffer — 1. gaffer [ gafe ] v. tr. <conjug. : 1> • 1694; de 1. gaffe ♦ Pêche Accrocher avec une gaffe. Gaffer un poisson. gaffer 2. gaffer [ gafe ] v. intr. <conjug. : 1> • 1883; de 2. gaffe ♦ Faire une gaffe, un impair (cf. Mettre les pieds… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Gaffer — Pour une définition du mot « gaffer », voir l’article gaffer du Wiktionnaire. Gaffer (Gaffa) ruban adhésif Le gaffer e …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gaffer — ↑ Gafferin Beobachter, Beobachterin, Betrachter, Betrachterin, Neugieriger, Neugierige, Passant, Passantin, Umstehende, Zaungast, Zuschauer, Zuschauerin; (häufig abwertend): Schaulustige; (veraltet abwertend): Maulaffe. * * *… …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

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