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[gruhf] /grʌf/
adjective, gruffer, gruffest.
low and harsh; hoarse:
a gruff voice.
rough, brusque, or surly:
a gruff manner.
Origin of gruff
1525-35; < Middle Dutch grof coarse; cognate with German grob
Related forms
gruffish, adjective
gruffly, adverb
gruffness, noun
ungruff, adjective
2. curt.
2. courteous. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gruffly
Historical Examples
  • "I have been waiting this time back," said Hordle John gruffly.

    The White Company Arthur Conan Doyle
  • "Nonsense," the giant said gruffly, to hide his own misgivings.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • Hugh drew his sleeve across his lips, and gruffly answered yes.

    Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
  • He gruffly bade the animal "gid-dap" and appeared a trifle confused.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • "I don't want to hear you," broke in the second voice, gruffly.

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • In spite of it the sergeant hailed him gruffly: "Are you the leader of this troop of vagabonds?"

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • "No; it's just what it was when we came out," said he, gruffly.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • "If there be enough to give him to eat," said the old man, gruffly.

    That Boy Of Norcott's Charles James Lever
  • "Then let us not be losin' our time," said the other, gruffly.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • "Then take the shortest, and you'll be soonest at your journey's end," said he, gruffly.

    Confessions Of Con Cregan Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for gruffly


rough or surly in manner, speech, etc: a gruff reply
(of a voice, bark, etc) low and throaty
Derived Forms
gruffish, adjective
gruffly, adverb
gruffness, noun
Word Origin
C16: originally Scottish, from Dutch grof, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German girob; related to Old English hrēof, Lithuanian kraupùs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for gruffly

1700, from gruff + -ly (2).



1530s, "coarse, coarse-grained," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German grof "coarse (in quality), thick, large," of uncertain origin, regarded by some as related to Old English hreof, Old Norse hrjufr "rough, scabby," with Germanic completive prefix ga-. Sense of "rough, surly" recorded by 1690s. Related: Gruffness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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