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

raffishly

adverb

raffishness

noun

raffish was our Word of the Day on 03/04/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of raffish in a Sentence

  1. 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

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

1795


RAFFISH Defined for English Language Learners

raffish

adjective

Definition of raffish for English Language Learners

  • : not completely acceptable or respectable but interesting and attractive



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