There are 2 main definitions of scruff in English:

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scruff1

Syllabification: scruff
Pronunciation: /skrəf
 
/

noun

The back of a person’s or animal’s neck: he grabbed him by the scruff of his neck
More example sentences
  • Finally Anton held her up by the scruff of her neck and she drew her limbs in, responding to some kitten memory of being carried that way by her mother.
  • If you were lucky enough to see him perform on stage, you always had the feeling he might suddenly leap into the audience, grab you by the scruff of the neck and haul you up onstage to drink ouzo and dance with him.
  • The orchestral introduction grips us by the scruff of the neck in the venom with which it makes hunting and stalking aurally incarnate.

Origin

late 18th century: alteration of dialect scuff, of obscure origin.

More
  • As an insult for a person with a dirty or untidy appearance, scruff is an alteration of scurf (Old English), meaning dandruff or a similar skin condition, which comes from the same root as Old English words meaning ‘to gnaw’ and ‘to shred’. The reversal of letters from scurf to scruff is also seen in bird and dirt, originally brid and drit. The scruff of the neck was originally the scuff—the word is recorded from the late 18th century, but its origin is obscure.

Words that rhyme with scruff

bluff, buff, chough, chuff, cuff, duff, enough, fluff, gruff, guff, huff, luff, muff, puff, rough, ruff, scuff, slough, snuff, stuff, Tough, tuff

Definition of scruff in:

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There are 2 main definitions of scruff in English:

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scruff2

Line breaks: scruff

Entry from British & World English dictionary

noun

British informal
A person with a dirty or untidy appearance.

Origin

early 16th century (in the sense 'scurf'): variant of scurf. The word came to mean 'worthless thing', whence the current sense (mid 19th century).

More
  • As an insult for a person with a dirty or untidy appearance, scruff is an alteration of scurf (Old English), meaning dandruff or a similar skin condition, which comes from the same root as Old English words meaning ‘to gnaw’ and ‘to shred’. The reversal of letters from scurf to scruff is also seen in bird and dirt, originally brid and drit. The scruff of the neck was originally the scuff—the word is recorded from the late 18th century, but its origin is obscure.

Definition of scruff in:

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