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90s Slang You Should Know


[raf-ish] /ˈræf ɪʃ/
mildly or sometimes engagingly disreputable or nonconformist; rakish:
a matinee idol whose raffish offstage behavior amused millions.
gaudily vulgar or cheap; tawdry.
Origin of raffish
First recorded in 1795-1805; raff + -ish1
Related forms
raffishly, adverb
raffishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for raffish
Contemporary Examples
  • Visiting him in his room at the raffish Chelsea Hotel, I noticed that there was a crumpled cigarette package under the bed.

Historical Examples
  • The raffish mongrel was apparently endeavouring to fletcherize a complete stranger of the Sealyham family.

    The Adventures of Sally P. G. Wodehouse
  • And there are screeching Cockney women, raw and raffish, brutalized children, and men who would survive in the fiercest jungle.

    Nights in London Thomas Burke
  • I was getting as bad as Renner—looking lecherously at the raffish display of shapely leg as the blond bombshell beat it.

    Modus Vivendi Gordon Randall Garrett
  • But she had an untidy, touzled, raffish appearance, due to I knew not what investiture of disrepute.

    The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne William J. Locke
  • Although the raffish peer denied all complicity, he did not come out of the business too well.

    The Magnificent Montez Horace Wyndham
  • But the muslin curtains, tied back with raffish pink bows, had really worried her most of all.

    Carnival Compton Mackenzie
  • raffish and flamboyant, he lounged forward to the window of the carriage.

    A Daughter of Raasay William MacLeod Raine
  • Then, to the immense relief of Mrs. Effie and myself, he was released and we were driven quickly off from the raffish set.

    Ruggles of Red Gap Harry Leon Wilson
  • You see, he is himself pater familias, with no Bohemian trait or raffish turn.

British Dictionary definitions for raffish


careless or unconventional in dress, manners, etc; rakish
tawdry; flashy; vulgar
Derived Forms
raffishly, adverb
raffishness, noun
Word Origin
C19: see raff
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 raffish

"disreputable, vulgar," 1801 (first attested in Jane Austen), from raff "people," usually of a lower sort (1670s), probably from rif and raf (mid-14c.) "everyone," from Middle English raf, raffe "one and all, everybody" (see riffraff). Related: Raffishly; raffishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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