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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Gaffer \Gaf"fer\ (g[a^]f"f[~e]r), n. [Possibly contr. fr. godfather; but prob. fr. gramfer for grandfather. Cf. Gammer.] 1. An old fellow; an aged rustic. [1913 Webster] Go to each gaffer and each goody. --Fawkes. [1913 Webster] Note: Gaffer was originally a respectful title, now degenerated into a term of familiarity or contempt when addressed to an aged man in humble life. [1913 Webster] 2. A foreman or overseer of a gang of laborers. [Prov. Eng.] [1913 Webster]