scruffier; scruffiest
: unkempt, slovenly, shaggy
a scruffy neighborhood
a scruffy beard
scruffily adverb
scruffiness 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 My buddy for the day was Matt Dummer, a twenty-five-year-old mechanic with a scruffy beard. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 Word on the street says the Great Frogs team has a refined palate—the scruffy pups in particular. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 25 July 2023 These scruffy, poky green invaders have taken over much of the Colorado Basin’s riversides, aided by the unnatural stability left by upstream dams that tamed floods. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 30 June 2023 Authorities describe the suspect as between roughly 5 foot, 9 inches or 6 feet tall with a scruffy or short beard. Drake Bentley, Journal Sentinel, 27 June 2023 The effect here is austere, intellectual, anti-emotional, although the fuzzy outlines and scruffy painterly textures suggest something provisional, in process. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 16 June 2023 Greg Endries/Max While his appearance during the on-screen call was pretty much the opposite of his interview look (black sweatshirt, a little scruffy, hair sticking up in a few places), his naturally humorous demeanor remains consistent. Sean Abrams, Men's Health, 15 June 2023 Their scruffy human spirit was embodied in the very way that they’d been created. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 10 June 2023 Everything about it—from its unwieldy title to its eclectic take on traditional country to its cover photo of a scruffy young man and his pregnant wife and their toddler in front of a rural grocery store—set it apart from Music City’s generic product. Eddie Dean, WSJ, 2 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'scruffy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1871, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of scruffy was in 1871

Dictionary Entries Near scruffy

Cite this Entry

“Scruffy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


scruffier; scruffiest
: dirty or shabby in appearance
a scruffy beard

More from Merriam-Webster on scruffy

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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