aloof /əˈluːf/


I. adjective

1. not friendly or forthcoming; cool and distant

they were courteous but faintly aloof
an aloof and somewhat austere figure.
2. conspicuously uninvolved

he stayed aloof from the bickering.
II. derivatives

1. aloofly

2. aloofness /əˈluːfnəs /

– origin mid 16th cent.: from a-2 (expressing direction) + luff. The term was originally an adverb in nautical use, meaning ‘away and to windward!’, i.e. with the ship’s head kept close to the wind away from a lee shore etc. towards which it might drift. From this arose the sense ‘at a distance’.

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