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Oaf

Definition: a stupid person, a big and clumsy slow-witted person.

Pronunciation: of (note that the preposition ‘of’ is pronounced as ‘ov’)

Origin

This funny noun dates back to the 1630’s and stems from the Scandinavian, perhaps Norwegian alfr meaning a silly person. Johnson, in the first English dictionary, defined this word as “a changeling: a foolish child left by the fairies”.

Why this word?

I love this word! I personally use it in the funny sense to it, when a person does something silly or idiotic, without usually being such. It is a great alternative for some other words we tend to use.

How to use the word oaf?

The word oaf is representative of a silly person, one who is ‘slower’ than his fellows.

John, calling your bother an oaf is not polite!”

Anyone who took him for an oaf, and tried to fool him would be in for a nasty surprise!”

John is an oaf; but he is so funny!”

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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