aloof

adjective
\ə-ˈlüf \

Definition of aloof 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: removed or distant either physically or emotionally an aloof, unfriendly manner He stood aloof from worldly success.— John Buchan

aloof

adverb
\ə-ˈlüf \

Definition of aloof (Entry 2 of 2)

: at a distance trying to keep failure aloof

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Other Words from aloof

Adjective

aloofly adverb
aloofness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for aloof

Adjective

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

Can you be loof instead of aloof?

The English language has a large number of words that contain a negative prefix, and for the most part these will leave us with an easy way to understand these words if we take their prefixes away. Disinclined is "the state or condition of not being inclined to do something," unaware means "not being aware," and amoral refers to not being moral. Every so often, however, we come across specimens which appear somewhat odd if we take away the prefix; if disgruntled means “discontented” then does gruntle mean “to make content”? And if aloof means “emotionally or physically distant” then must loof mean “emotionally or physically close”?

It’s a bit complicated. In the case of gruntle, the word does indeed mean “to put in a good humor,” but only because people began using it in this fashion in the early 20th century as a jocular back-formation from disgruntle. Gruntle had an earlier sense, which was “grumble,” and the dis- in disgruntle was an intensifying prefix rather than a negative one. In the case of aloof the a- is a negative prefix, but loof did not mean “close.” This word is a variant of luff, which referred to the side of a ship, and the earliest sense of aloof was “to windward.” Soon after the word entered English it began to be used to mean “at a distance,” and soon after that took on the meaning of “physically or emotionally removed.”

Examples of aloof in a Sentence

Adjective

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 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 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 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 They tried to keep aloof from the politics of the day. the new kid was really not so aloof as we thought him at first, just painfully shy
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her encounters with the children helped humanize the normally aloof first lady. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "5 things we learned from Melania Trump's visit to Arizona," 28 June 2018 White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, aka Suckabee, is still drinking the White House Kool-Aid—the special blend of indignant righteous and aloof ramblings that allows for unfathomable levels of heartlessness. Stephen A. Crockett Jr., The Root, "Sarah Huckabee Sanders Continues Her White-Tears Tour Despite Being Satan's Mouthpiece," 3 July 2018 Powell’s young secretary would recall how Wheeler appeared dignified but aloof in his testimony. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 As a result, Yekaterinburg has the reputation as a city aloof about what others think of it. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Peeking Around Corners in the World Cup’s Provincial Cities," 14 July 2018 Mozart’s concerto remains aurally aloof from such politics; even the seemingly Sicilian-appropriate tarantella-like rhythms of the finale are, in all likelihood, coincidental. Matthew Guerrieri, BostonGlobe.com, "Mozart for an era of political machinations," 28 June 2018 He is widely seen as an honest man of the people, rare for a leader in a country where the political class is scorned as corrupt and aloof, and his push for infrastructure and cutting red tape has burnished his image as a hands-on leader. The Christian Science Monitor, "Indonesian elections hint at rise of political Islam in the secular country," 26 June 2018 However much designers and citizens alike might wish or assume it, architecture does not remain aloof from wider social and political developments. Darran Anderson, The Atlantic, "The Cities That Never Existed," 17 June 2018 His party, La République En Marche, remains aloof from the pan-European political groupings through which much EU business is conducted. The Economist, "Emmanuel Macron’s ambitious plans for Europe are running aground," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aloof.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aloof

Adjective

1608, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1523, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aloof

Adjective

see aloof entry 2

Adverb

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

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Statistics for aloof

Last Updated

3 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aloof

The first known use of aloof was in 1523

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More Definitions for aloof

aloof

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of aloof

: not involved with or friendly toward other people

: not involved in or influenced by something

aloof

adverb
\ə-ˈlüf \

Kids Definition of aloof

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: at a distance stood aloof

aloof

adjective

Kids Definition of aloof (Entry 2 of 2)

: not friendly or outgoing a shy aloof manner

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Comments on aloof

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