Definition of raffish
1 : marked by or suggestive of flashy vulgarity or crudeness
2 : marked by a careless unconventionality : rakish
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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 of raffish from the Web
A security officer, who’d paid no attention to Mitrovich, came up to inquire what this raffish character was carrying in his bag.
His scrubs today are accessorized with a turquoise G-Shock and a raffish surgeon’s cap made from fabric printed with Van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
Hinckley, who is twenty-nine, had a blond cascade of hair, round glasses, and a short, raffish beard.
In the documentary, Ledger’s best friend Trevor Di Carlo accompanies him on all his filming escapades, snapping rare images of the raffish star in his downtime.
She was recruited in the early 1950s by The New York Daily Mirror, a raffish Hearst tabloid, and worked, in succession, for The New York Journal-American, The Daily News, The New York Post and Women’s Wear Daily.
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.
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.
First Known Use of raffish
RAFFISH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of raffish for English Language Learners
: not completely acceptable or respectable but interesting and attractive
Seen and Heard
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