\ˈskrə-fē \
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 \ adverb
scruffiness \ˈskrə-​fē-​nəs \ 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

If the plants start to look scruffy, shear off the top one-third of leafy growth and spent flower stems to rejuvenate. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Carnations," 1 Aug. 2018 This time, however, he was photographed in a fish and chips shop in North London, surrounded by a few rogue chickens and a scruffy pack of dogs. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Harry Styles Hung Out With Lambs and Piglets in New Gucci Campaign," 18 Sep. 2018 My husband is sick of seeing the scruffy look, as well. Ellen Warren,, "Is a 3-day beard a deal breaker — or just scruffy enough?," 2 July 2018 Both victims described him as a white man with brown hair and scruffy facial hair. Ajc Homepage, ajc, "Sketches released of fake cop suspects, but is it the same man?," 14 Mar. 2018 Despite the hilarious and viral nature of this tweetstorm, Culkin actually looked cool and polished in his overtly glam at-home ensemble: no more scruffy long hair, dirty goatee, or hipster Paul Bunyan flannel. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Macaulay Culkin Spent the Oscars at Home (Alone?) in a Tux Eating Ramen," 5 Mar. 2018 Svi Mykhailiuk, Los Angeles’ second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft, is 6-foot-8, lanky and wears a scruffy beard. Ethan Bauer,, "Lakers open summer league in inaugural California Classic," 2 July 2018 One child played with his beard, and the scruffy Duke happily obliged. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kids Couldn't Keep Their Hands Off of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in Ireland," 11 July 2018 That fear takes on visible form in the items of empty clothing suspended spookily above David Israel Reynoso’s set, whose urban-edifice walls rise to reveal the bare studs and exposed wiring of the women’s scruffy apartment. James Hebert,, "A struggle to cling to identity is at heart of La Jolla Playhouse's quietly moving 'Queens'," 10 July 2018

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

English dialect scruff something worthless

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Dictionary Entries near scruffy






scrum half


Statistics for scruffy

Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for scruffy

The first known use of scruffy was in 1871

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More Definitions for scruffy



English Language Learners Definition of scruffy

: not neat, clean, or orderly


\ˈskrə-fē \
scruffier; scruffiest

Kids Definition of scruffy

: dirty or shabby in appearance

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More from Merriam-Webster on scruffy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with scruffy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scruffy

Spanish Central: Translation of scruffy

Nglish: Translation of scruffy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scruffy for Arabic Speakers

Comments on scruffy

What made you want to look up scruffy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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