or stand-off·ish

[stand-aw-fish, -of-ish]


somewhat aloof or reserved; cold and unfriendly.

Origin of standoffish

First recorded in 1855–60; standoff + -ish1
Related formsstand·off·ish·ly, adverbstand·off·ish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for standoffish

Contemporary Examples of standoffish

Historical Examples of standoffish

  • But even at that I dont see why she should be so standoffish.

  • Not that she was still what he would have called "standoffish" with him.

    Winnie Childs

    C. N. Williamson

  • Harvie, who was the only one of us left, said that Sir Arthur was as standoffish and superior as ever.

  • I am sure I don't know what to think of the English students being "standoffish" with Americans.


    Ellen Glasgow

  • The meal ended, she rose and swept him a curtsey, neither over-friendly nor standoffish.

    Two Sides of the Face

    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

British Dictionary definitions for standoffish



reserved, haughty, or aloof
Derived Formsstandoffishly, adverbstandoffishness, noun
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 standoffish

1826, from stand off + -ish. Verbal phrase stand off "hold aloof" is from c.1600. Related: Standoffishly; standoffishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper