Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Distant physically or emotionally; reserved and remote: stood apart with aloof dignity.
  • adv. At a distance but within view; apart.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. At or from a distance, but within view, or at a small distance; apart; away.
  • adv. Without sympathy; unfavorably.
  • adj. Reserved and remote; either physically or emotionally distant
  • prep. away from; clear of

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. At or from a distance, but within view, or at a small distance; apart; away.
  • adv. Without sympathy; unfavorably.
  • n. Same as alewife.
  • prep. Away from; clear from.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • At a distance, but within view; intentionally remaining apart, literally or figuratively; withdrawn.
  • At or to a distance from; away or apart from.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. in an aloof manner
  • adj. remote in manner

Etymologies

a-2 + luff, windward part of a ship (obsolete).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a- + Middle English loof (="weather gage," also "windward direction"), probably from Dutch loef (="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" (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • From the book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.pg.116
    "Are you going to be charming? aloof? fierce?"

    November 29, 2010

  • People that feel superior than the others

    September 20, 2010

  • She just wants to be accepted in this place
    But there's something in her face
    She will always seem exotic and aloof
    If you want to know the truth
    Her friend the stars dripping from the jewelled sky
    When she was passing by
    Would keep her calm
    There was people that she knew, at least she thought she did
    Be easy on the kid!

    (For the price of a cup of tea, by Belle and Sebastian)

    November 20, 2009

  • Sometimes you need to be aloof. Even if it's the last thing you want to do.

    September 3, 2008