• noun a home or house. In 19th-century slang a gaff was a fair, fairground or any place of cheap entertainment. These notions were expanded in the argot of actors, tramps, market stallholders, criminals, etc. and the word came to be used to describe any place or location, hence the current meaning which was racy underworld jargon from the 1920s to the 1950s when spivs, teddy boys, etc. gave it wider currency. (It is still mainly used by working-class speakers.).


  • Formerly, slang for a cheap public theater or a low-class musichall; such venues, which were often called penny gaffsfrom the price of admission, were once common on the south side ofthe Thames in London (see transpontine melodrama).They often specialized in the performance of violent melodramas(see blood tub).