Posted by R. Berg on January 05, 2002

In Reply to: Naff posted by Barney on January 05, 2002

: : As used elsewhere lower down this page, the word "naff" is (I am fairly sure) peculiarly British. It seems to be used in two slightly different ways:

: : i) as a replacement for a more vulgar expletive - as in when someone is told to "naff off" or when something is "naffing awful". However, I'm sure that there's no stand-alone verb "to naff".

: : ii) as an adjective meaning tasteless, worthless or just generally bad. Someone can be wearing a "naff" shirt, or can go to a "naff" party.

: : Origins, anyone? I'm at a loss.

: Well, really!!!!

Eric Partridge's entry for "naffy" in A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English might be relevant. Or it might not. Perhaps those on the right side of the ocean will deign to tell the rest of us.

"'Naffy,' used as a pejorative adjective, connotes 'shirking': Services: since ca. 1940. Cf. the Navy's 'Naffy rating,' a shirker. Here, the initials N.A.A.F.I. are interpreted as standing for 'No Aim, Ambition or f****** Initiative'."

Are naff devices (see Lazy Susan thread below) what are sometimes called labor-saving devices, the connection being that using them encourages avoidance of doing something the hard way--a form of shirking?

  • Naff Gary 01/05/02