• Aloof


    • IPA: /ʌˈluːf/
    • Rhymes: -uːf


    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"


    Full definition of aloof



    1. At or from a distance, but within view, or at a small distance; apart; away.
      • 1697, w:John Dryden, Virgil's w Chapter Part 13, The noise approaches, tho' our palace stood
        Aloof from streets, encompass'd with a wood
      • 1922, Ben Travers, A Cuckoo in the Nest Chapter 2, Mother...considered that the exclusiveness of Peter's circle was due not to its distinction, but to the fact that it was an inner Babylon of prodigality and whoredom, from which every Kensingtonian held aloof, except on the conventional tip-and-run excursions in pursuit of shopping, tea and theatres.
    2. Without sympathy; unfavorably.
      • 1832, Isaac Taylor, Saturday evening, But to open the Bible in this spirit — to take the Book as from the hand of God, and then to look at it aloof, and with caution, as if throughout it were illusory and enigmatical, is the worst of all impieties.



    1. Reserved and remote; either physically or emotionally distant


    1. (obsolete) away from; clear of
      • MiltonRivetus ... would fain work himself aloof these rocks and quicksands.
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