\ \ [20] There seem to be two separate words naff in British slang, but the origins of both are mysterious. The first, naff off, appeared in the 1950s. Functionally it is a euphemistic substitute for fuck off, and there could be some connection with eff, another euphemism for fuck (perhaps the n in an eff wandered out of place).
\ \ Alternatively it could come from naf, an old backslang reversal of fan in the sense ‘female genitals’. The second, an adjective meaning ‘unstylish, unfashionable, tasteless’, is first recorded in 1969. Its antecedents are even more obscure. Among possible relatives are northern English dialect niffy-naffystupid’ and naffy, naffin and naffheadidiot’ and Scots nyaffunpleasant person’.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Naff — or NAFF may refer to: People: William E. Naff, an American scholar of Japanese language Lycia Naff, actress D Naff (born 1974), a Namibian award winning Gospel rapper, and a former street gangster Petty Naff, a notorious rowdy of the Know Nothing …   Wikipedia

  • naff — [naf] adj. [Brit. Slang] Brit. Slang 1. inferior in quality or condition 2. tasteless or unfashionable * * * I. naff1 (năf) adj. Chiefly British Slang Unstylish, clichéd, or outmoded.   [Possibly of dialectal origin.]   II …   Universalium

  • naff — The phrasal verb naff off, a euphemistic substitute for fuck off, first appeared in print in Keith Waterhouse s novel Billy Liar (1959), and Waterhouse himself insists that it was originally conscript service slang as an acronym of ‘nasty, awful …   Modern English usage

  • naff — (v.) British slang euphemism for fuck (v.), generally used in imprecations (e.g. naff off); 1959, of unknown origin, perhaps back slang of some sort (Cf. FANNY (Cf. fanny)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • naff — Brit. informal ► VERB 1) (naff off) go away. 2) (naffing) used to emphasize annoyance. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ lacking taste or style. DERIVATIVES naffness noun …   English terms dictionary

  • naff — [ næf ] adjective BRITISH INFORMAL silly, or lacking TASTE (=good judgment about style, fashion, or what is appropriate in a particular situation) …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • naff — [naf] adj. [Brit. Slang] Brit. Slang 1. inferior in quality or condition 2. tasteless or unfashionable …   English World dictionary

  • naff — adj tasteless, inferior, shoddy and unappeal ing. Naff had existed in working class slang for at least 40 years by the time it became a vogue word in the later 1970s. It had been used in the jargon of prosti tutes to mean nothing or negligible.… …   Contemporary slang

  • Naff — Lycia Naff (* 29. August 1962 in Las Vegas) ist eine US amerikanische Schauspielerin und Journalistin. Ihre Schauspielerkarriere begann sie 1982 in der Fernsehserie Fame. Ferner hatte sie Gastauftritte unter anderem in zwei Episoden von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • naff — naff1 [næf] adj BrE informal [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: Perhaps from Scottish English nyaff unpleasant person ] something that is naff seems silly, especially because it is unfashionable or shows a lack of good taste →↑tacky ▪ a really naff film ▪ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • naff — [[t]næ̱f[/t]] naffer, naffest 1) ADJ GRADED If you say that something is naff, you mean it is very unfashionable or unsophisticated. [BRIT, INFORMAL] The music s really naff. ...naff his and hers matching outfits. 2) CONVENTION (disapproval) If… …   English dictionary

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