at a distance, especially in feeling or interest; apart: They always stood aloof from their classmates.


reserved or reticent; indifferent; disinterested: Because of his shyness, he had the reputation of being aloof.

Origin of aloof

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

Synonyms for aloof

Antonyms for aloof Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aloofly

Historical Examples of aloofly

  • Aubrey inquired, aloofly interested in the plot details of the narrative.


    Ben Hecht

  • He greeted them aloofly, and a little negro boy proffered tiny cups of China tea.

    The Yellow Claw

    Sax Rohmer

  • Once in such a group she recognized the girl who had eyed her aloofly on the train coming home from boarding school.

    Why Joan?

    Eleanor Mercein Kelly

  • They were still comically stiff-legged and bristly as they aloofly sniffed noses.

  • All her life she had gone about calmly and aloofly, her head in the clouds, her feet on mountain-tops.

    Parrot & Co.

    Harold MacGrath

British Dictionary definitions for aloofly



distant, unsympathetic, or supercilious in manner, attitude, or feeling
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 aloofly



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper