gruff

adjective
\ ˈgrəf How to pronounce gruff (audio) \

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

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

Gears 5 begins by focusing on JD, the son of badass gruff manly man Marcus Fenix, who was the protagonist of the first generation of games. Wired, "Gears 5: A War Game That Really Deals with War Trauma," 5 Sep. 2019 Neville Chamberlain was ‘nice’ and people were aghast at Winston Churchill’s gruff demeanor. Bob Sellers, Fortune, "Here’s What It Would Take to Get to ‘Win-Win’ With China on Trade, Experts Say," 1 Sep. 2019 Peter Fonda plays a lonely beekeeper with a persistent limp, a gruff demeanor and a lifetime’s worth of regrets. Justin Chang, chicagotribune.com, "Appreciation: The Peter Fonda role we should be talking about isn’t ‘Easy Rider,’ but ‘Ulee’s Gold’," 18 Aug. 2019 Vic is gruff and bumbling and often appears almost literally as a bull in a china shop. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "Buddy comedy ‘Stuber’ runs on fumes," 11 July 2019 That started at the top with coach Mike Ditka, the gruff former NFL tight end whose penchant for cigars rubbed off on his team. SI.com, "A History of Football in 100 Objects," 28 Aug. 2019 Peter Fonda plays a lonely beekeeper with a persistent limp, a gruff demeanor and a lifetime’s worth of regrets. Justin Chang, chicagotribune.com, "Appreciation: The Peter Fonda role we should be talking about isn’t ‘Easy Rider,’ but ‘Ulee’s Gold’," 18 Aug. 2019 Peter Fonda plays a lonely beekeeper with a persistent limp, a gruff demeanor and a lifetime’s worth of regrets. Los Angeles Times, "Appreciation: ‘Easy Rider’ made Peter Fonda an icon. ‘Ulee’s Gold’ made him an actor to remember," 17 Aug. 2019 Then more sad and happy things happen — things that Enzo, with his gruff inner monologue and his non-opposable thumbs, can only share with the people sitting on the other side of this celluloid. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "The Art of Racing in the Rain is earnest, floppy-eared family entertainment," 6 Aug. 2019

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 and Verb

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

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Learn More about gruff

Dictionary Entries near gruff

gruenlingite

Grues

gruesome

gruff

grugru

Gruidae

gruiform

Statistics for gruff

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce gruff (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on gruff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gruff

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gruff

Spanish Central: Translation of gruff

Nglish: Translation of gruff for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gruff for Arabic Speakers

Comments on gruff

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