To the hordes who wanted time with Lincoln, the gruff and efficient Nicolay was the “grim enforcer.”
Yet despite the gruff manner and partisan bluster, Frank is a deft and serious legislator.
The mayor was (and remains) a native Jewish Odessan, a gruff but clever operator.
But beneath the gruff, sometimes combative demeanor was a man with heart, humor, and decency.
(9:27 PM) Ryan's soft, boyish voice paired next to Biden's gruff, rude demeanor.
The voice in which he made this threat was gruff and aggressive.
“Seventeen, an it please your grace,” said Stephen, in the gruff voice of his age.
"I guess you'll excuse me if I ain't down there to stand around on the w'arf and see you go," she said, still trying to be gruff.
I want you to tell me why Mr Haredale—oh, how gruff he is again, to be sure!
He pushed it open, but a gruff voice inquired his business, and a burly figure blocked his way.
1530s, "coarse, coarse-grained," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German grof "coarse (in quality), thick, large," of uncertain origin, regarded by some as related to Old English hreof, Old Norse hrjufr "rough, scabby," with Germanic completive prefix ga-. Sense of "rough, surly" recorded by 1690s. Related: Gruffness.