\ ˈskrə-fē How to pronounce scruffy (audio) \
scruffier; scruffiest

Definition of scruffy

: unkempt, slovenly, shaggy a scruffy neighborhood a scruffy beard

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Other Words from scruffy

scruffily \ ˈskrə-​fə-​lē How to pronounce scruffy (audio) \ adverb
scruffiness \ ˈskrə-​fē-​nəs How to pronounce scruffy (audio) \ noun

Examples of scruffy in a Sentence

The neighborhood is full of dilapidated houses with scruffy backyards. dressed in scruffy old clothes to clean out the garage
Recent Examples on the Web When Thomas Rhett began releasing singles in 2012, he was positioned as a scruffy young singer-songwriter in the vein of Eric Church. Jon Freeman, Rolling Stone, "Thomas Rhett Rediscovers His Country Self on the Rootsy New Album ‘Country Again’," 30 Apr. 2021 There's even a tax break that benefits scruffy journalists. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Bitcoin bulls are back—but stocks are flat ahead of a huge earnings week," 26 Apr. 2021 From a scruffy shoreline, the Shinnecocks can gaze across the bay at workers landscaping the lawns of huge Southampton summer mansions. New York Times, "Why the Shinnecock Tribe Is Clashing With the Hamptons’ Elite," 22 Apr. 2021 McCarthy is Lydia Berman, yet another scruffy, off-kilter creation that revels in the outrageous. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Thunder Force is a super-powered Melissa McCarthy comedy that never fully takes flight," 9 Apr. 2021 At the northern end of Malibu Creek State Park, behind the Lost Hills Station, is a scruffy patch of wilderness, where the brush, crisscrossed with deer trails, can grow to overhead. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, "A Shooter in the Hills," 8 Mar. 2021 Richards, who is thirty-six, with a scruffy beard, was wearing a navy barn jacket and grimy jeans. Dana Goodyear, The New Yorker, "Framing the Wide-Open Spaces of “Nomadland”," 22 Feb. 2021 If barber shops are closed and your partner is starting to feel a little scruffy, give them the gift of this nifty gadget that’ll make self-grooming a breeze. Marissa Miller, USA TODAY, "15 amazing Valentine's Day gifts to buy from Black-owned brands," 4 Feb. 2021 Johan Hermans, a botanist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, discovered the scruffy little plant, named Gastrodia agnicellus, lurking in the shaded undergrowth of a rainforest in Madagascar, reports Ibrahim Sawal for New Scientist. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Behold the World’s Ugliest Orchid, According to Botanists," 21 Dec. 2020

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

1871, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for scruffy

scruff, metathetic variant of scurf (also with senses "something worthless or contemptible, contemptible person") + -y entry 1

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Time Traveler for scruffy

Time Traveler

The first known use of scruffy was in 1871

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Statistics for scruffy

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scruffy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for scruffy



English Language Learners Definition of scruffy

informal : not neat, clean, or orderly


\ ˈskrə-fē How to pronounce scruffy (audio) \
scruffier; scruffiest

Kids Definition of scruffy

: dirty or shabby in appearance

Comments on scruffy

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