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See also: Naff



Perhaps from Polari, 1960s.[1] Further etymology unknown; perhaps a conscious corruption of either fanny or eff (off) (see naff off).


  • IPA(key): /næf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æf


naff (comparative naffer, superlative naffest)

  1. (British, Ireland, colloquial, Polari) Bad; tasteless, poorly thought out, not workable.
    That tie is a bit naff, don’t you think?
    • 1998, Robert Llewellyn, The Man on Platform Five, London: Hodder & Stoughton, →ISBN, page 291:
      She was an ordinary woman in her dress style; she didn't wear a leather bodice or naff over-knee plastic spiky-heeled boots.
    • 2004, J. J. Connolly, Layer Cake, spoken by XXXX (Daniel Craig):
      I mean ten years ago a bit of charlie was for pop stars or a celebrities birthday bash. It was demonized by Daily Mail Readers getting drunk in naff wine bars.
    • 2012, Simon Doonan, Gay men don't get fat, New York: Blue Rider Press, →ISBN, page 206:
      Remember, “tacky” means “cheap or glitzy”, whereas “naff” is about stylistic shortcomings which are horrifyingly average and pathetically ordinary. The Jersey Shore is tacky, but The Bachelor is naff.
    • 2019 February 24, Barbara Ellen, “Amy Winehouse could belt out a tune – her naff hologram can’t”, in The Guardian[1]:
      A mere seven years after her tragic death, isn’t it grim and tasteless to send her hologram off on some naff tour?
    • 2023 May 13, John Naughton, “A moment’s silence, please, for the death of Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse”, in The Observer[2], →ISSN:
      Note that last phrase: what actually emerged was a virtual-reality platform called Horizon Worlds, accessible only via naff and clunky Oculus headsets (think an uncomfortable version of Zoom) []
  2. (Polari) Heterosexual.
    • 2004, Pip Granger, Trouble In Paradise:
      The omie was a veritable donkey beneath the waistband, darlings. A donkey! No wonder your boss-palone is so smitten. I've seen my share, dollies, but this old omiepalone was shaken to the core. Such a terrible waste on a naff bloke.

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “naff”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.

Further reading[edit]


Middle English[edit]



  1. (Northern) Alternative form of nave