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A.Word.A.Day--gaffer

Pronunciation RealAudio

gaffer (GAF-uhr) noun

1. The head of the electrical department responsible for the lighting setup on a movie or television set.

2. An old man, especially a country man.

3. A foreman, supervisor, or boss.

[Contraction of godfather, influenced by grandfather.]

Sense 1 comes from the fact that in the beginning longshoremen were employed to move heavy lighting equipment on a production set. They worked in a hierarchy and the one at the top was called gaffer as a term of respect. Sense 2 and 3 are chiefly British. The feminine equivalent of sense 2 is gammer (contraction of godmother).

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

"The entire team is made up of Jaime Bengzon (executive producer and cinematographer), Alvin Santiago (production manager), Eric Jose Pancho (production designer), Elmo Redrico (art director), Manny Abanto (assistant Cameraman) and Tony Nugod (gaffer)."
Francis Rex Alger; Behind the Scenes; The Manila Times (Philippines); Jul 28, 2003.

"He (Bruce Willis) insists that these days it's almost as much fun giving money away as it is raking it in. He likes to stuff a paper bag with dozens of hundred-dollar bills and let the entire movie crew - down to the last grip and gaffer - hold a lottery to win it."
David Hochman; Tough Guise; The Age (Melbourne, Australia); Aug 9, 2003.

This week's theme: words related to movie making.

X-Bonus

Scriptures, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based. -Ambrose Bierce, writer (1842-1914) [The Devil's Dictionary]

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