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Gaffle, Meaning “to Snag” or “to Grab”

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Camden from Juneau, Alaska, uses the term gaffle to mean “snag,” as in to gaffle a Coke from the fridge. In his 1872 work A Dictionary of Etymology (Bookshop|Amazon), philologist Hensleigh Wedgwood notes that in a variety of languages, words like gaff and gaffle describe hook-like instruments used for grabbing. Gaffle shows up in American English around 1900 as a verb meaning “to grasp” or “to seize.” In modern hip-hop, gaffle can mean to “rob,” “steal,” “swindle,” or “be harassed or arrested by the police.” This is part of a complete episode.

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