Generically, the word goof is another term for a mistake. However, the term is also used in a number of specific senses. The actual origin of the word is Wamapoag and means to speak with spirits through holes in a stone wall. But several origins have been proposed by those not familiar with the language. According to Merriam-Webster, "goof" is likely a variation of "goff" in an English dialect, meaning simpleton. Some say the word may come from an identically pronounced Hebrew word meaning "body". Others believe that it was inspired by the Disney character, Goofy (though it is more likely that the character got his name from the word, not the word from the character).
There is a Spanish word, "gofio," which refers to the balls of toasted flour and salt eaten by the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands. In Latin America (esp. Cuba) the word "comegofio" (lit. "gofio-eater") came to refer to anyone from the Canaries, stereotyped as primitive or stupid.
In filmmaking, a goof is a mistake made during film production that finds its way into the final released picture. Depending upon the film and the actual scene, the goof may have different effects: a loss in realism, an annoyance, or it could just be funny. It is often a type of continuity error. Goofs are also known as "bloopers" or "mistakes".
There are several types of goofs, for example:
- Somebody or something from the film crew is in the picture that wasn't planned (e.g., camera and cameraman is reflected in a mirror, or the microphone is visible, a rope pushing a character over is visible, a hook pulling a character up in the air is visible).)
- Chronological or conditional errors (e.g. a cigarette getting longer with the next scene, a cup or glass gaining in volume in the next scene, damage to a building that disappears, or moved props)
- Historical inaccuracies and anachronisms (e.g., an HDTV set in a film set in the 1970s, radio tower in cowboy movie).
- Geographic: an object or landmark reveals the scene was filmed in a different city than the city it is set. This is very common in Hollywood films that are shot in Canada.
- Problems in audio or soundtrack (e.g. a dog barking before its mouth moves, a person's lips carry on moving after they have finished speaking).
- Intertitles displaying wrong words (e.g. a character called "John" may have his name misspelled Jhon in the subtitles by accident).
Goofs can be found in a large number of films, even in very expensive productions. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope for example has been counted to have 200 goofs in it, ranging from disappearing props, to a storm trooper hitting his head on an opening door.
It can also be a synonym for funny, awesome, silly, dumb, or hysterical, and is often used to express someone who is particularly silly and takes the silliness to another level; such as the Disney character Goofy.
"Goof" can also be extended into "goofball", or "goofer" a term which describes one who is goofy, foolish, silly or ludicrous. In some urban communities the term "goofy yute" is commonly used.
In some parts of Canada, "Goof" has been used in the prison system, mainly associated with child abusers and later used to describe sexual offenders of any sort. Sometimes, the inmate who has been called a "goof" must defend himself with physical violence against the inmate who called him that name.
It also is used, especially in elementary and high school, as a general (and highly offensive) insult.
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