1

gruff

play
adjective \ ˈgrəf \

Definition of gruff

1 :rough, brusque, or stern in manner, speech, or aspect
  • a gruff reply
2 :being deep and harsh :hoarse
  • a gruff voice

gruffly

adverb

gruffness

noun

Examples of gruff in a Sentence

  1. Don't be fooled by his gruff manner—he's really very kind.

  2. He spoke in a gruff voice.

Recent Examples of gruff from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of gruff

Dutch grof; akin to Old High German grob coarse, hruf scurf — more at dandruff

Synonym Discussion of gruff

bluff, blunt, brusque, curt, crusty, gruff mean abrupt and unceremonious in speech and manner. bluff connotes good-natured outspokenness and unconventionality.
    • a bluff manner
blunt suggests directness of expression in disregard of others' feelings.
    • a blunt appraisal
brusque applies to a sharpness or ungraciousness.
    • a brusque response
curt implies disconcerting shortness or rude conciseness.
    • a curt command
crusty suggests a harsh or surly manner sometimes concealing an inner kindliness.
    • a crusty exterior
gruff suggests a hoarse or husky speech which may imply bad temper but more often implies embarrassment or shyness.
    • puts on a gruff pose

2

gruff

verb

Definition of gruff

transitive verb
:to utter in a gruff voice or manner
  • "Get out of bed now!" gruffed the sergeant.

Origin and Etymology of gruff

see 1gruff


GRUFF Defined for English Language Learners

gruff

play
adjective

Definition of gruff for English Language Learners

  • : rough or very serious in manner or speech

  • of a voice : low and rough


GRUFF Defined for Kids

gruff

play
adjective \ ˈgrəf \

Definition of gruff for Students

gruffer; gruffest
:rough in speech or manner
  • a gruff reply

gruffly

adverb

gruffness

noun


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