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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English gaffolle, a borrowing from Middle Dutch gaffel, gafel (fork), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *gabalō (fork), related to Old English gafol, ġeafel (fork).


gaffle (plural gaffles)

  1. (obsolete) A lever used to bend a crossbow.
  2. A steel spur attached to a gamecock.
  3. (historical, artillery) A portable fork of iron or wood in which the heavy musket formerly in use was rested that it might be accurately aimed and fired.

Etymology 2[edit]

Blend of gaff +‎ grapple.


gaffle (third-person singular simple present gaffles, present participle gaffling, simple past and past participle gaffled)

  1. To seize
  2. To steal
  3. To talk incessantly without a purpose, usually about inane or pointless topics; to banter.


  • OED 2nd edition 1989 (noun sense)