Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gaff n.2

[? SE gaff, the steel spur attached to a fighting cock; ? Fr. gaffe, a verbal blunder or Scot. gaff, to talk loudly and merrily or dial. gaff, loud, coarse talk]

1. [early 19C–1910s] an outcry, a noise [? also link to gaff n.1 (1), a fair, where ‘outcry’ would naturally be the order of any day].

2. [late 19C–1920s] (US) constructed with the, a dismissal; ridicule.

3. [late 19C–1960s] (also gaffery) humbug, nonsense.

4. [late 19C–1960s] (US) severe treatment, criticism, punishment or hardship.

5. [1910s] a legitimate job, work.

6. [1920s] talk.

7. [1920s–50s] interrogation.

8. [1940s] (Ulster) news, gossip.

In phrases

give the gaff (v.) (also put the gaff into)

[late 19C-1910s] to deliver severe treatment/criticism.

hand the gaff (v.)

to beat up.

stand the gaff (v.) [late 19C+] (US)

1. (also get the gaff, take the gaff) to receive severe treatment, criticism etc.

2. (also take the gaff) to suffer interrogation, beatings, or any adverse conditions.

3. to sustain a situation, good or bad.

In exclamations

stow your gaff!

[late 19C–1910s] be quiet!