fay GAFF! Click below to hear this.
Oh my, this expression is so full of contradictions that you’ll be dizzy by the time we’re done!
Let’s do it this way:
- Une gaffe is a blunder. Faire une gaffe is to commit a blunder.
- And it’s also a boathook, or a gaff, which is a kind of fishing spear.
- But fais gaffe is not an invitation to blunder through an event! It’s just the opposite. It’s warning you not to get in trouble. Fais gaffe à cette dame means Watch out for that lady (she’s dangerous!).
- Un gaffeur in French is a person prone to committing blunders, but a gaffer in English is a chief electrician in the movie world.
- Gaffer, a nice ordinary -er verb in French, means to blunder, or to look at, or to stab (a fish). Gaffe un peu! is slang for Take a look!
Are you still with me? So Fais gaffe aux gaffes might mean Watch out for blunders, or it might mean Watch out for boathooks. (I can picture the party room all decorated with boathooks dangling from the ceiling….) Il a gaffé le poisson means either he glanced at or he caught the fish. C’est un gaffeur célèbre means he’s famous either for his mistakes or for his brilliant work in cinema.
I think I’d better leave now, or I might faire une gaffe. Fais gaffe. toi!
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