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adverb \ə-ˈlüf\

Definition of aloof

  1. :  at a distance

Origin of aloof

obsolete aloof to windward, from 1a- + louf, luf luff

First Known Use: 1523



adjective \ə-ˈlüf\

Simple Definition of aloof

  • : not involved with or friendly toward other people

  • : not involved in or influenced by something

Full Definition of aloof

  1. :  removed or distant either physically or emotionally <he stood aloof from worldly success — John Buchan>

aloof·ly adverb
aloof·ness noun

Examples of aloof

  1. In truth, he isn't so much aloof as he is courtly in a formal, afternoon-tea sort of way. —Joe Klein, Time, 21 July 2003

  2. Most American journalists who “do” politics cannot resist getting to know the Players. Walter Lippmann was typical of an earlier generation, the disinterested wise man who remained aloof, chiselling great thoughts on marble columns. —Gore Vidal, Nation, 12 June 1995

  3. Jeremy Price (this name and a few others have been changed), a black teacher from St. Paul's, tried a few times to make small talk, but he was a Brahmin from another planet: cool, ironic, aloof. —Lorene Cary, Black Ice, 1991

  4. Somehow, I remember the fireworks man as solitary, aloof, coveralled, perhaps sooty, staring straight ahead as he came, perhaps reflecting back on the trench-war violence he had just been a part of … —George Plimpton, Fireworks, 1984

  5. They tried to keep aloof from the politics of the day.

  6. <the new kid was really not so aloof as we thought him at first, just painfully shy>

Origin of aloof

(see 1aloof)

First Known Use: 1608

Synonym Discussion of aloof

indifferent, unconcerned, incurious, aloof, detached, disinterested mean not showing or feeling interest. indifferent implies neutrality of attitude from lack of inclination, preference, or prejudice <indifferent to the dictates of fashion>. unconcerned suggests a lack of sensitivity or regard for others' needs or troubles <unconcerned about the homeless>. incurious implies an inability to take a normal interest due to dullness of mind or to self-centeredness <incurious about the world>. aloof suggests a cool reserve arising from a sense of superiority or disdain for inferiors or from shyness <aloof from his coworkers>. detached implies an objective attitude achieved through absence of prejudice or selfishness <observed family gatherings with detached amusement>. disinterested implies a circumstantial freedom from concern for personal or especially financial advantage that enables one to judge or advise without bias <judged by a panel of disinterested observers>.

Seen and Heard

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February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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