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  1. at a distance, especially in feeling or interest; apart: They always stood aloof from their classmates.
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  1. reserved or reticent; indifferent; disinterested: Because of his shyness, he had the reputation of being aloof.
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Origin of aloof

1525–35; a-1 + loof luff windward
Related formsa·loof·ly, adverba·loof·ness, noun

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for aloof


  1. distant, unsympathetic, or supercilious in manner, attitude, or feeling
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Derived Formsaloofly, adverbaloofness, noun

Word Origin for aloof

C16: from a- 1 + loof, a variant of luff
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

Word Origin and History for aloof


1530s, from a- (1) + Middle English loof "weather gage," also "windward direction," probably from Dutch loef (Middle Dutch lof) "the weather side of a ship." Originally a nautical order to keep the ship's head to the wind, thus to stay clear of a lee-shore or some other quarter; hence the figurative sense of "at a distance, apart" (1580s). Related: Aloofly; aloofness.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper