\ ˈskrəf \

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

From Zac Efron's retro 'stache to Kit Harington's wildman beard, there were plenty of young guys at the 2018 Golden Globes with admirable scruff. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, "The Over-40 Set Brought Grown-Man Grooming to the Golden Globes," 8 Jan. 2018 These were the words of my grab-life-by-the-scruff-of-the-neck husband after finishing our first six months bobbing about in the sea. Kellie Pollock, CNN, "'Weathered but wiser' — Around-the-world sailors learn hard lessons," 17 Apr. 2018 And while his stubble is now proper scruff, his neck is all cleaned up. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, "Jon Hamm Knows How to Grow a Beard in Public," 12 Jan. 2018 Allover scruff and and visible chest hair speaks for itself. Megan Gustashaw, GQ, "The Week in Excellent Celebrity Haircuts," 11 Feb. 2018 Still, the Posies had a little scruff and blur to its guitar sounds and muscle to the drums, which situated it in the era. John Adamian,, "Seven Concerts You Might Want To See (And Why)," 9 June 2018 Partnering the Selecao's number 7, Bebeto, in attack, Romario took the tournament by the scruff of the neck, reinvigorated by his return to the national team., "World Cup Countdown: 2 Weeks to Go - The Underappreciated Genius of Romário," 3 June 2018 The 26-year-old has truly taken his chance by the scruff of the neck., "Premier League Overachievers: The 2017-18 Over-Performing XI," 16 May 2018 The uniform isn’t so much suit-and-tie as plaid shirt, work boots, and two-day scruff. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "This New Natural Beauty Startup is Raising the Bar on Sustainable Packaging," 30 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for scruff

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scruff

The first known use of scruff was in 1790

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More Definitions for scruff



English Language Learners Definition of scruff

: the skin on the back of the neck


\ ˈskrəf \

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

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