- The definition of gruff is something harsh sounding, or someone who is abrupt and short-tempered.
- The low, deep and scratchy voice of a lifelong smoker is an example of a gruff voice.
- When a grumpy old man always scowls and gives short one-word answers when he is spoken to, he is an example of someone who would be described as gruff.
- rough or surly in manner or speech; brusquely rude
- harsh and throaty; hoarse
Origin: from Dutch grof, akin to German grob, coarse, surly from Old High German gerob from ge-, intensive plush base akin to Old English hreof, rough, scabby from Indo-European base an unverified form kreup-: see graupel
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective gruff·er, gruff·est
- Brusque or stern in manner or appearance: a gruff reply.
- Hoarse; harsh: a gruff voice.
Origin: Dutch grof, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German.
- gruffˈly adverb
- gruffˈness noun