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[raf-ish] /ˈræf ɪʃ/
mildly or sometimes engagingly disreputable or nonconformist; rakish:
a matinee idol whose raffish offstage behavior amused millions.
gaudily vulgar or cheap; tawdry.
Origin of raffish
1795-1805; raff + -ish1
Related forms
raffishly, adverb
raffishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for raffish
  • Still there are those who mistake dark clouds for raffish hucksterism.
  • All of which sits a tad oddly with the raffish behaviour of the writers-especially those of a generation ago.
  • The overwhelming majority of this tangy, raffish slang has vanished or has been supplanted by newer slang.
  • Inside the atmosphere of the court was as raffish as the outside.
  • But she was modest and graceful, not nearly raffish enough to qualify as a character.
  • His popularity has always owed more to his raffish, well-rounded personality than to his views.
British Dictionary definitions for raffish


careless or unconventional in dress, manners, etc; rakish
tawdry; flashy; vulgar
Derived Forms
raffishly, adverb
raffishness, noun
Word Origin
C19: see raff
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 raffish

"disreputable, vulgar," 1801 (first attested in Jane Austen), from raff "people," usually of a lower sort (1670s), probably from rif and raf (mid-14c.) "everyone," from Middle English raf, raffe "one and all, everybody" (see riffraff). Related: Raffishly; raffishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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