There are 2 main definitions of scruff in English:

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scruff1

Line breaks: scruff
Pronunciation: /skrʌf
 
/

noun

The back of a person’s or animal’s neck: he grabbed him by the scruff of his neck
More example sentences
  • The latter song further displayed M.E's new found audience sympathy by dragging a bouncer from the mosh pit by the scruff of his neck for starting on a fan who'd been getting a bit carried away.
  • SAC has never taken the Fringe by the scruff of its neck and said, ‘How can we use it for our own purposes?’
  • Plus, any band who produce We Care A Lot, a brutally fun hymn for the apathy generation is bound to grab any world-weary fifteen year old by the scruff of the neck.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Grasp (an animal) by the scruff of its neck.
Example sentences
  • Do you have any idea what it feels like to be seized, scruffed, taken like an animal when you're in heat and feeling like one anyhow?

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

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There are 2 main definitions of scruff in English:

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scruff2

Line breaks: scruff
Pronunciation: /skrʌf
 
/

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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