Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Wed Jan 24 15:49:46 UTC 2001

>>...Naff ...

>Looks to me like another candidate for the pseudo-acronym files. ...

Partridge (8th ed.) gives several lines to this word. It is given as
distinct from another "naff" [= (1) female privates, (2) nothing, (3)
euphemism as in "Naff off!" etc.].

The adjective "naff" = "tacky"/"vulgar" supposedly comes from theatrical
slang, from the 1960's according to a Paul Beale correspondent. This
apparently was attached to the backronym by the 1980's.

Thorne says "naff" dates from the 1930's, but I think he's combining what
are separate entries in Partridge (the early use given as prostitutes'
slang for "nothing" [this one has an acronym/backronym too, something like
"not a f*cking fart"]).

The origins appear to be obscure. It's not clear whether the different
words "naff" are related.

-- Doug Wilson

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