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

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

The British upper classes quickly followed suit, but the rest of the country remained aloof until 1848, when the London Illustrated News published a charming picture of Queen Victoria and her family gathered around a large Christmas tree. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "Trees of Life and Wonder," 13 Dec. 2018 Much of its appeal comes from the fact that the art world is widely perceived as a stuffy landscape filled with composed and aloof characters who can’t be bothered to interact with laymen folks like us. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Netflix's Velvet Buzzsaw Shouldn't Work—But It (Mostly) Does," 3 Feb. 2019 Though Gabaldon wrote Claire as a character whose face betrays her every emotion, Balfe always played the part at a slight remove, with an aloof dignity betrayed only when Claire decides to speak her mind. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Caitriona Balfe Is Evolving with Outlander," 31 Dec. 2018 That's a testament to Britton, who does a scary-good job at playing aloof to John's eccentricities while also gaining empathy from the audience. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Dirty John Is the Break I Didn’t Know I Needed From All the Christmas Cheer on TV," 26 Nov. 2018 Mr Khama has become authoritarian and aloof, relying for advice on too narrow a circle of friends. The Economist, "How to save Botswana’s sparkling reputation," 8 Mar. 2018 Despite his dozen years in the House, Price also was regarded as aloof by lawmakers, ignoring some of their questions of HHS and seldom making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "Former HHS secretary Tom Price’s air travel wasted $341,000 in government funds, watchdog says," 13 July 2018 Despite his dozen years in the House, Price also was regarded as aloof by lawmakers, ignoring some of their questions of HHS and seldom making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Amy Goldstein And Mark Berman, chicagotribune.com, "Former HHS secretary Tom Price's air travel wasted $341,000 in government funds, watchdog says," 13 July 2018 Its Obama was a bit cold and aloof, its Hillary Clinton a relentless striver, and its George W. Bush a malapropism-spouting manchild. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "So it’s come to this: a defense of SNL’s over-obvious sendup of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh," 3 Oct. 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

Adverb and Adjective

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

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Statistics for aloof

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aloof

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aloof

Spanish Central: Translation of aloof

Nglish: Translation of aloof for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aloof for Arabic Speakers

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