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[skruhf-ee] /ˈskrʌf i/
adjective, scruffier, scruffiest.
untidy; shabby.
Origin of scruffy
1650-60; scruff2 + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scruffy
  • But they are also somewhat skeptical of the protestors, who seem a bit scruffy and unfocused.
  • It shows an unlovely ridge with a couple of scruffy bushes on it.
  • He had become the sort who casts about for a policeman at the sight of the scruffy poor.
  • He has a scruffy beard and straight blondish hair that hangs not quite to his shoulders.
  • Barren granite and scruffy tundra fan out in every direction.
  • We tossed our duffels and backpacks down to its two scruffy-looking crewmen as their vessel ground against the side of the ship.
  • There's the car dealer who tried to throw the scruffy hippie out of the showroom.
  • Firms soon organised themselves along similar lines, keeping white-coated scientists safely apart from scruffy engineers.
  • Yet another walks in late, looking scruffy and eating a chocolate cereal bar.
  • scruffy he might be, with tie askew and too-short trousers, but he was not a tramp.
British Dictionary definitions for scruffy


adjective scruffier, scruffiest
unkempt or shabby
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 scruffy

1650s, "covered with scurf," from scruff "dandruff, scurf" (late Old English variant of scurf) + -y (2). Generalized sense of "rough and dirty" is from 1871. Related: Scruffily; scruffiness.

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



Dirty and unkempt; shabby; slovenly: The scruffy little city, Knoxville, did it/ one bearded, sad-eyed, scruffy-looking lad

[1871+; fr obsolete British scruff, ''valueless, contemptible,'' probably an alteration of scurf, ''scabbiness of the skin,'' hence related to scurvy]

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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