Definition of scuff in English:

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Pronunciation: /skəf/


[with object]
1Scrape or brush the surface of (a shoe or other object) against something: I scuffed the heel of my shoe on a stone
More example sentences
  • I'm talking carefully ripped jeans, studiously scuffed shoes, lovingly tousled hair and, for guys, cultivated stubble (this isn't so great on chicks).
  • Sami looks down and scuffs his shoes on the concrete floor.
  • For every Record Collector, LP paranoia eventually sets in and the beloved becomes a monster, desperate to scratch and scuff the poor helpless vinyl.
scrape, scratch, rub, abrade;
1.1Mark (a surface) by scraping or brushing it, especially with one’s shoes: the linoleum on the floor was scuffed
More example sentences
  • He shoves his hands into his pockets and scuffs the floor with his shoe.
  • At the same time, he takes care to scuff his compositions with small marks, so that the studied perfection of his geometry is offset by the imperfection of the scratch or splotch on the surface that can recall timeworn linoleum floors.
  • Eve took off her shoes so she wouldn't scuff that glorious floor.
1.2 [no object] (Of an object or surface) become marked by scraping or brushing: these shoes won’t scuff
More example sentences
  • Why pay attention to something that's just going to get scuffed up?
  • Both sets of impressions are scuffed, which, along with the two tight curves, suggests the animals were moving rapidly, says Monks.
  • You needed a long bar, made of some dark aged wood, all nicked and scuffed smooth along its edges.
1.3Drag (one’s feet or heels) when walking: he scuffed his feet boyishly
More example sentences
  • They talk for a moment, scuff their feet, and eventually shakes hands and smile.
  • Smith flashes a smile and scuffs his foot across a swath of browned grass where Greene and the other sprinters had vomited.
  • The middle child of the New Zealand arts scene, our literature scuffs its toes at the edges of the playground, watching the fun and hoping that someone will take it home to love it.
1.4 [no object] Walk while dragging one’s feet or heels: she scuffed along in her slippers
More example sentences
  • Every day, relatives scuff their way along the dirt track to reach the razor wire barricades, where they plead in vain for information about the whereabouts of the missing.
  • The sound of running water nearby masked the tiny noise her old boots made as they scuffed along the limb.
  • They sagged as he scuffed his way towards his bike leaning against the gutter.


A mark made by scraping or grazing a surface or object: dark colors don’t show scuffs
More example sentences
  • The floor of the basement is decorated with a pattern of coloured lino, like a giant green snowflake, marked with black scuffs where bored rats have performed stunts in empty carts.
  • Nevertheless, life goes on, and time marches forward, even if it leaves its scuff marks on our bruised and tattered bodies, its foot prints on our souls.
  • Mugolo could tell from the length of the scuff marks on the rock and later, where the rider had to cross some soft ground, the length of the stride.


Early 18th century: perhaps of imitative origin.

  • scruff from early 16th century:

    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 scuff

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

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: scuff

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