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[skruhf] /skrʌf/
the nape or back of the neck.
Origin of scruff1
1780-90; variant of dial. scuff, scuft < Dutch schoft horse's withers


[skruhf] /skrʌf/
noun, Metallurgy
(in tin-plating) dross formed in the bath.
metathetic variant of scurf Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scruff
  • Without the clown makeup, his facial scruff and sunken eyes are more pronounced.
  • Satisfied, the crow flutters down from the platform and grips the hare by the scruff of the neck.
  • He grabs the scruff of her neck and lifts her up, his other hand supporting her from below.
  • Catch the mouse through the bag by grasping it by the scruff of the neck.
  • Barking and scruff up within seconds the they were on each other and could not be taken apart.
  • Now lovers of scruff can appreciate the buff actor, too.
  • The microchip is inserted under the scruff area between the animal's shoulders.
  • They will attempt to escape and this extends their body so that you can grasp them by the loose fur around the scruff of the neck.
  • Any greenhorn attempting to occupy it was promptly ousted by catcalls or a heavy hand on the scruff of his shirt.
  • One was caught by the scruff of the neck and beaten badly on the sidewalk in view of the seven others.
British Dictionary definitions for scruff


the nape of the neck (esp in the phrase by the scruff of the neck)
Word Origin
C18: variant of scuft, perhaps from Old Norse skoft hair; related to Old High German scuft


(informal) an untidy scruffy person
(informal) a disreputable person, ruffian
another name for scum (sense 3)
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 scruff

"nape of the neck," 1790, altered (by influence of scruff "crust") from scuft (1787), probably related to North Frisian skuft "back of the neck of a horse" and Dutch schoft "withers of a horse," from a common Germanic source (cf. Old Norse skopt "hair of the head," Gothic skuft, Middle High German schopf, German Schopf). Another theory holds it to be a variant of scurf.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for scruff

scruff 1

v,v phr

To make a bare living; scrape along (1940s+)

scruff 2



[1970s+ Teenagers; fr scruffy]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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