His gruffness had forsaken him, and he came forward with an unembarrassed and dignified bearing.
Under his gruffness there was a lot of sentiment and tenderness.
They accepted his gruffness as simple-mindedness, as blunt honesty.
In her excitement, the gruffness of his tone passed unobserved.
"Get away, daughter," he grumbled, with that shade of gruffness which is but the transition to absolute surrender.
Again, in spite of the gruffness, I felt that wistful quality in him.
A Northumberland Fusilier exploded into words which expressed the gruffness of his comrades.
gruffness had come into his voice, which the other ascribed to excitement.
He has a notion that it's unmanly and weak; so that when Stanley did speak he assumed a gruffness he was far from feeling.
"I'll forgive your gruffness if you make yourself intelligible," said she.
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.