aloof

adjective
\ ə-ˈlüf How to pronounce aloof (audio) \

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

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

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 Until his world blew up last weekend, Ferentz looked like an aloof old man who just didn’t care what was happening right under his nose. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: As accusations from players pile up, Kirk Ferentz appears ill-equipped to push for change," 9 June 2020 In that October 2015 Benghazi hearing, Congressman Pompeo depicted Clinton as an aloof partisan, disinterested in the welfare of State Department employees. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, "The Hypocrisy of Mike Pompeo," 21 May 2020 Growing tired of always covering the publication, RuPaul decides that the magazine needs a new, younger face: the aloof Chad. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "RuPaul Gives Pete Davidson a Full Drag Queen Make-Over on 'SNL': Watch," 9 Feb. 2020 Larry David returned to play an aloof Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who complained about his iPhone battery, and Jason Sudeikis assumed the role of Joe Biden, taking a shot at the real former vice president’s long-winded storytelling style. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "SNL riffs on Democratic debate and impeachment in cold opening," 22 Dec. 2019 While the Supreme Court holds itself out as aloof to popular pressure, the former law clerks say the justices follow media coverage of its work closely and are not insensitive to criticism. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The Supreme Court has shunned technology: Could coronavirus change that?," 22 Mar. 2020 In contrast to boastful Texans with their McRanches or status-hungry New Yorkers in pursuit of donor plaques, Ms. Bass was reticent and aloof. Deborah Solomon, New York Times, "Anne Bass, 78, Arts Patron and Peerless Gardener, Dies," 10 Apr. 2020 This is just one of the vignettes that Ms. Glenconner offers about the haughty, aloof culture into which she was born. Alexandra Wolfe, WSJ, "A Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret Sticks Up for the Royals," 20 Mar. 2020 Fashion is a form of communication that is both intimate and aloof. Robin Givhan, Washington Post, "Our clothes tell our story. What happens when the narrative is just pajamas and sweats?," 16 Mar. 2020

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

derivative of aloof entry 2

Adverb

from earlier aloof "(on a ship) to windward, toward the direction from which the wind is blowing (hence avoiding the lee shore)," from a- entry 1 + loof, variant of luff entry 1

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Time Traveler for aloof

Time Traveler

The first known use of aloof was in 1523

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Statistics for aloof

Last Updated

18 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aloof.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aloof. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for aloof

aloof

adjective
How to pronounce aloof (audio)

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 How to pronounce aloof (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on aloof

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aloof

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aloof

Spanish Central: Translation of aloof

Nglish: Translation of aloof for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aloof for Arabic Speakers

Comments on aloof

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