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[uh-loof] /əˈluf/
at a distance, especially in feeling or interest; apart:
They always stood aloof from their classmates.
reserved or reticent; indifferent; disinterested:
Because of his shyness, he had the reputation of being aloof.
Origin of aloof
1525-35; a-1 + loof luff windward
Related forms
aloofly, adverb
aloofness, noun
2. cool, detached; distant, standoffish; snobbish, haughty, disdainful.
1. near. 2. warm, open, gregarious, outgoing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for aloof
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He knew them not; aloof, solitary, self-contained, he had coldly held himself outside the circle of all that was best in life.

    Lone Pine R. B. (Richard Baxter) Townshend
  • Little Fay was as obstreperous as Tony was disagreeably silent and aloof.

    Jan and Her Job L. Allen Harker
  • He stood, aloof, at one side of the veranda, as the newcomer alighted from the car.

    Lad: A Dog Albert Payson Terhune
  • All the people who had seemed so warmly near to him were aloof and cold.

    Despair's Last Journey David Christie Murray
  • He seemed so aloof, as though his spirit walked alone in dark places where she could not follow.

    Skyrider B. M. Bower
British Dictionary definitions for aloof


distant, unsympathetic, or supercilious in manner, attitude, or feeling
Derived Forms
aloofly, adverb
aloofness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from a-1 + loof, a variant of luff
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for aloof

1530s, from a- (1) + Middle English loof "weather gage," also "windward direction," probably from Dutch loef (Middle Dutch lof) "the weather side of a ship." Originally a nautical order to keep the ship's head to the wind, thus to stay clear of a lee-shore or some other quarter; hence the figurative sense of "at a distance, apart" (1580s). Related: Aloofly; aloofness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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