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From its sound; Carroll explained the word as "a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish."



uffish (comparative more uffish, superlative most uffish)

  1. (nonce word) grumpy, ill-tempered
    • 1872, Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky (poem in Through the Looking-Glass)
      And, as in uffish thought he stood, / The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, / Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, / And burbled as it came!
    • 1874, Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark:
      The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
    • 1956, Lawrence Johnstone Burpee, Canadian geographical journal (volumes 52-53)
      Its great Cham was Wells, whose highly readable prose flowed easily between the line-drawings of behemoths in the coal swamps and Neanderthal man looking uffish.