\ ˈskrəf How to pronounce scruff (audio) \

Definition of scruff

: the back of the neck : nape

Examples of scruff in a Sentence

She held the kitten by the scruff of its neck.
Recent Examples on the Web Shadows of the proteins, fibers and trace fats in that leafy scruff hang around throughout the Tequila-making process to imbue lowland Tequilas with a characteristic grassy earthiness. Ali Bouzari,, "Housemade: How Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant highlights quality Tequila in its margaritas," 30 Dec. 2019 The sequence featuring the French dance duo Les Twins is a particular delight, a sinuous, scrappy routine with a scruff of elegance around its edges. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Cats Is Terrible, But It’s Also Kind of Great," 20 Dec. 2019 The Weeknd looked almost unrecognizable on Monday’s red carpet without his signature beard, leaving behind only the ‘stache and some scruff on his chin. Robyn Merrett,, "Even Bruno Mars Seems to Think The Weeknd's New 'Stache Looks Just Like His," 11 Sep. 2019 The Blues started in style with a wonderfully worked goal, with Jorginho's delightful assist finished off with Abraham's delicate finish as Chelsea seized the game by the scruff of its neck., "Watford 1-2 Chelsea: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Vibrant Blues Continue League Winning Streak," 2 Nov. 2019 De Bruyne looks like a player who is making up for lost time after his injury problems last season, and the Belgian midfielder has grabbed the Premier League by the scruff of its neck at the start of this campaign., "Manchester City 4-0 Brighton: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Clinical Citizens Cruise Past Seagulls," 31 Aug. 2019 Waters, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy – who were amazed that these young scruffs from the ocean knew about their music, much less wanted to play it. Greg Kot,, "The Rolling Stones just can't shake the Chicago blues," 13 June 2019 The traditional vows seize love by the scruff of the neck and set it down in real life, in the real world. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Going Home with Wendell Berry," 29 May 2019 The ability to grab a game by the scruff of its neck., "6 Positions Wolverhampton Wanderers Must Strengthen to Solidify Themselves as a Top 7 Club," 1 July 2019

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

1790, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scruff

alteration of earlier scuff, of unknown origin

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Time Traveler for scruff

Time Traveler

The first known use of scruff was in 1790

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Statistics for scruff

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Scruff.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for scruff


How to pronounce scruff (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of scruff

: the skin on the back of the neck


\ ˈskrəf How to pronounce scruff (audio) \

Kids Definition of scruff

: the loose skin on the back of the neck

More from Merriam-Webster on scruff

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scruff

Spanish Central: Translation of scruff

Comments on scruff

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experienced by way of someone else

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