raffish

adjective
raff·ish | \ ˈra-fish \

Definition of raffish 

1 : marked by or suggestive of flashy vulgarity or crudeness

2 : marked by a careless unconventionality : rakish

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Other words from raffish

raffishly adverb
raffishness noun

Did You Know?

Raffish sounds like it should mean "resembling raff." But what is raff? Originally, "raff" was a word meaning "rubbish"; it derived from Middle English "raf," and it was being used for trash and refuse back in the 1400s. Around a century later, English speakers were also using the word riffraff to mean "disreputable characters" or "rabble." The origins of "riffraff" are distinct from the "rubbish" sense of "raff"; "riffraff" derived from an Anglo-French phrase meaning "one and all." By the mid-1500s, the similarities between "raff" and "riffraff" had prompted people to start using the two words as synonyms, and "raff" gained a "rabble" sense. It was that ragtag "raff" that gave rise to the adjective "raffish" in the late 1700s.

Examples of raffish in a Sentence

the dowager cringed at the thought of raffish tourists in rough boots tromping all over her Persian rugs

Recent Examples on the Web

The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018 The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018 The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018 The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018 The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018 The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' and more," 22 June 2018 The second is Jeremy Irons’ suave and subtle portrayal of James Tyrone — one consummate actor stepping into the raffish skin of another. Matt Cooper, latimes.com, "The week ahead in SoCal theater: 'Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella' and more," 16 June 2018 In the all-American tradition of raffish impresarios like P. T. Barnum and Chuck Barris, Mr. Darnell aims for popular success, critics be damned. New York Times, "Reality TV Kingpin Mike Darnell Wants One More Hit," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'raffish.' 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 raffish

1795, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near raffish

raffiné

raffing

raffinose

raffish

raffle

rafflesia

Rafflesiaceae

Statistics for raffish

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for raffish

The first known use of raffish was in 1795

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More Definitions for raffish

raffish

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of raffish

: not completely acceptable or respectable but interesting and attractive

More from Merriam-Webster on raffish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for raffish

Nglish: Translation of raffish for Spanish Speakers

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