scruff

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

Noun[edit]

scruff (plural scruffs)

  1. Someone with an untidy appearance
    That candidate will never get the job: he's a right scruff.
  2. stubble, facial hair (on males)
  3. (obsolete) crust
  4. (obsolete) scurf
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

A kitten being carried by its scruff.
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Wikipedia

1790, from earlier (1787) scuft, influenced by scruff (crust). Related to North Frisian skuft (back of the neck of a horse) and Dutch schoft (withers (of a horse)), from Proto-Germanic. Compare also Old Norse skopt (hair of the head), Gothic 𐍃𐌺𐌿𐍆𐍄 (skuft, hair of the head), Middle High German schopf (German Schopf).[1]

Noun[edit]

scruff (plural scruffs)

  1. The loose skin at the back of the neck of some animals.
  2. (rare) The back of the neck, nape; also scruff of the neck.
    He grabbed his unruly kid by the scruff of the neck, and took him home.
Usage notes[edit]

Strictly refers to the loose skin at the back of the neck – found on many mammals, though not humans – rather than the back of the neck itself. While this distinction is not always observed, scruff is used almost exclusively in the phrase “to grab [someone/something] by the scruff [of the neck]”.

Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

scruff (third-person singular simple present scruffs, present participle scruffing, simple past and past participle scruffed)

  1. To lift or carry by the scruff.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ scruff” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).