A gaff is a long pole with a barbed hook on one end. Large fish that are too heavy to be pulled in on a line are sometimes fished with a gaff.

Think of a gaff as a simpler version of a harpoon. But rather than shooting or throwing a gaff, as is done with a harpoon, a fisherman uses a gaff as a tool to hook a huge fish and lug it onto a boat. Be careful not to make the gaffe of using gaff to mean gaffe, "an embarrassing mistake." They sound alike, but have totally different meanings!

Definitions of gaff
  1. noun
    an iron hook with a handle; used for landing large fish
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    type of:
    a curved or bent implement for suspending or pulling something
  2. noun
    a sharp metal spike or spur that is fastened to the leg of a gamecock
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    type of:
    each of the sharp points on the soles of athletic shoes to prevent slipping (or the shoes themselves)
  3. noun
    a spar rising aft from a mast to support the head of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail
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    type of:
    a stout rounded pole of wood or metal used to support rigging
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