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Picture of Kalleh
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Do you regularly see the word "oaf" being used? I haven't heard it in years...until today. Then, in the Chicago Tribune, I see it used not once, but twice. On the front page they describe a local murderer as, "...when he garnered international headlines with his oafish behavior after the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson." Then, in the editorial section, "Add him to the list of digital age oafs or truth-tellers, depending on your own point of view." I don't even think they are using the word right. In the first quote, Drew Peterson garnered international press with his cocky or pompous behavior, not "oafish." In the second, "oaf" isn't the opposite of "truth-teller."

Is the word "oaf" coming back - or have I just not heard it lately?
 
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Picture of arnie
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quote:
Drew Peterson garnered international press with his cocky or pompous behavior, not "oafish." ... "oaf" isn't the opposite of "truth-teller."

What is your definition of "oafish", then? They're not incompatible. It's not uncommon over here, although not especially so. I haven't noticed any rise or fall in the word's use.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10940 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Pillsbury Dough Boy has been surly of late, leading me to buy an oaf of bread.

I did see "oaf" just a few days ago - but it does seem rare. guess T. Rumpish has superseded it.
 
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<Proofreader>
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I've never tried oafish. Is it closer to salmon, or bass, or catfish?

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Picture of Kalleh
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I always thought it meant a stupid or clumsy person. I always remember my 7th grade friend yelling at one of the boys in class who had broken something of hers, "You clubbed-footed oaf!" (Of course today that would politically incorrect because of the poor club-footed people.)
 
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From the OED Online:
quote:
oaf, n1
Originally: † an elf's child, a changeling; = ouphe n. (obs.). In later use: a fool, a stupid person; a large, clumsy man or boy; a rude and boorish (esp. male) person.

oafish, adj.

Of the nature of or resembling an oaf; dull-witted, loutish, rude.

Also
quote:
oaf, n.2 = ofay n.
U.S. slang (derogatory) rare.
1941 J. Smiley Hash House Lingo 40 Oaf, white person (used by negroes).

ofay, n. and adj.
U.S. slang (orig. and chiefly in African-American usage). Chiefly derogatory or depreciative.
A white person. Cf. fay n.4 (fay is an abbreviation of ofay)

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Posts: 2878 | Location: Shoreline, WA, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Kalleh
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Wow - I did not know it was a derogatory word about a white person.
 
Posts: 24735 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Neither did I, until today.
 
Posts: 2878 | Location: Shoreline, WA, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
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