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[gruhf] /grʌf/
adjective, gruffer, gruffest.
low and harsh; hoarse:
a gruff voice.
rough, brusque, or surly:
a gruff manner.
1525-35; < Middle Dutch grof coarse; cognate with German grob
Related forms
gruffish, adjective
gruffly, adverb
gruffness, noun
ungruff, adjective
2. curt.
2. courteous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for gruffly
  • He growled out a blessing, which sounded as gruffly as a curse.
  • They figure that if you've done your homework you won't be afraid to handle their gruffly delivered questions.
  • As soon as you leave the local airport, signs gruffly demand their return.
  • The interrogator gruffly ordered the candidate to sit down.
  • He scolds them gruffly but fondly when they lift other people's carburetors.
  • Even then, the self-proclaimed deity gruffly brushes off the mistake by explaining he works in mysterious ways.
  • When she was asked for her name and affiliation, she gruffly directed the questioner to look it up in the brochure.
  • He turned to another recruit and gruffly ordered him to retrieve his canteen.
  • The busy staff member dismisses her concerns gruffly, referring her to her training.
  • She promptly screamed for help and the burglar gruffly told her to be quiet or he would shoot her.
British Dictionary definitions for gruffly


rough or surly in manner, speech, etc: a gruff reply
(of a voice, bark, etc) low and throaty
Derived Forms
gruffish, adjective
gruffly, adverb
gruffness, noun
Word Origin
C16: originally Scottish, from Dutch grof, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German girob; related to Old English hrēof, Lithuanian kraupùs
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 gruffly

1700, from gruff + -ly (2).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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