gruff

adjective
\ˈgrəf \

Definition of gruff 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : rough, brusque, or stern in manner, speech, or aspect a gruff reply

2 : being deep and harsh : hoarse a gruff voice

gruff

verb
gruffed; gruffing; gruffs

Definition of gruff (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Other Words from gruff

Adjective

gruffly adverb
gruffness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for gruff

Synonyms: Adjective

austere, dour, fierce, flinty, forbidding, grim, intimidating, lowering (also louring), rough, rugged, severe, stark, steely, stern, ungentle

Antonyms: Adjective

benign, benignant, gentle, mild, tender

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Choose the Right Synonym for gruff

Adjective

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

Examples of gruff in a Sentence

Adjective

Don't be fooled by his gruff manner—he's really very kind. He spoke in a gruff voice.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For Vincent Lindon, cast and bearded as the great man in this inert biopic from Jacques Doillon, that task entails gazing intently at statues, busts and naked models, looking gruff and serious, while the camera avoids close-ups of the detailing. Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, "Review: ‘Rodin,’ a Biopic Heavy as Stone," 31 May 2018 Friends and colleagues said that hidden inside a somewhat gruff and intimidating exterior was a kid who occasionally came out during the Voyager press briefings. Dennis Overbye, BostonGlobe.com, "Bradford Smith, 86, dies; showed postcards from outer space," 13 July 2018 Friends and colleagues said that hidden inside a somewhat gruff and intimidating exterior was a kid who occasionally came out during the Voyager press briefings. Dennis Overbye, BostonGlobe.com, "Bradford Smith, 86, dies; showed postcards from outer space," 13 July 2018 Friends and colleagues said that hidden inside a somewhat gruff and intimidating exterior was a kid who occasionally came out during the Voyager press briefings. Dennis Overbye, BostonGlobe.com, "Bradford Smith, 86, dies; showed postcards from outer space," 13 July 2018 Friends and colleagues said that hidden inside a somewhat gruff and intimidating exterior was a kid who occasionally came out during the Voyager press briefings. Dennis Overbye, New York Times, "Bradford Smith, Who Showed Postcards From Outer Space, Dies at 86," 11 July 2018 Mark Lewis Jones plays Thomas Griffiths, a gruff vulgarian partnered with the pious Thomas Howell (Michael Jibson) at Smalls Lighthouse, about 20 miles off the coast. Noel Murray, latimes.com, "Review: Actors make the most of seaside suspense in Welsh two-hander 'The Lighthouse'," 5 July 2018 The family plot is an opportunity for Maron to play Sam as an abrasive, gruff, good-hearted dad with an unconventional but perceptive parenting style. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Marc Maron Is Great in GLOW, and Maybe That’s a Problem," 29 June 2018 For an outwardly gruff guy who has made a career of not smiling on-screen, even Brolin has to break into a grin while speaking at Los Angeles' Four Seasons Hotel. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "'Sicario' star Josh Brolin is smiling over his killer summer, even with superhero deaths," 26 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of gruff

Adjective

1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1706, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gruff

Adjective

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

Verb

see gruff entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near gruff

gruenlingite

Grues

gruesome

gruff

grugru

Gruidae

gruiform

Statistics for gruff

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gruff

The first known use of gruff was in 1691

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More Definitions for gruff

gruff

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of gruff

: rough or very serious in manner or speech

of a voice : low and rough

gruff

adjective
\ˈgrəf \
gruffer; gruffest

Kids Definition of gruff

: rough in speech or manner a gruff reply

Other Words from gruff

gruffly adverb
gruffness noun

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Comments on gruff

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