Definition of raffish in English:



  • Unconventional and slightly disreputable, especially in an attractive way:

    ‘his raffish air’
    • ‘Brighton, on the south coast and one hour by train from London, is the most raffish, louche and exciting of British seaside towns.’
    • ‘Artists enjoy seeing themselves as raffish outsiders, people of dubious morality.’
    • ‘Suntanned from riding on his motorcycle, his hair longer than before and distinctly raffish, he didn't look much like the well-groomed man who'd hung around for Liza's birth.’
    • ‘A one-time fishing village, it has a beat-up, raffish looking downtown surrounded by new, big marinas.’
    • ‘At times, according to historical reports, the concert venues had the raffish air of a beer hall.’
    • ‘I adopted a raffish and enigmatic smile and shrugged.’
    • ‘Yorkshire's most famous soul singer has matured into a handsome, outwardly respectable middle-aged man with a raffish undertow.’
    • ‘In its heyday, the Review enjoyed a reputation as an obtuse and nearly unreadable but authoritative publication put together by a sometimes raffish staff.’
    • ‘He is an engaging man, with a raffish grin.’
    • ‘Less tightly wound and introspective than his brother, he prefers to present a raffish, happy-go-lucky attitude.’
    • ‘The parents of these churlish, raffish youths should be held responsible.’
    • ‘Even the raffish collection of outsiders that have washed up there seem part of the patchwork.’
    • ‘He's still drainpipe thin, official rock legend dimensions, although his nervy stare is now crowned by a raffish swoop of snowy grey where a slick black executive crewcut once sat.’
    • ‘There were many people who disliked Charles and who made unsavoury insinuations about his private life, but Maria knew that behind the raffish exterior existed a tender, sensitive man.’
    • ‘The city tumbles down the steep slopes to the river's edge where it coalesces into a raffish assortment of bars, cafes and restaurants housed in tottering waterfront terraces.’
    • ‘He's very sexy, with heavy-lidded bedroom eyes and a raffish swagger.’
    • ‘Artists and antique dealers have moved in, giving the neighbourhood a raffish bohemian energy.’
    • ‘A war hero with raffish good looks, he had all the personal attributes to make a successful match, and Elizabeth was clearly attracted to him.’
    • ‘In the southern chain of small islands, Cooper Island has a raffish charm.’
    • ‘The Bahamas' capital, with its large, sheltered harbour, has swung many times from boomtown to backwater and back again in its rather raffish past.’
    rakish, jaunty, dapper, dashing, sporty, flashy
    unconventional, bohemian
    devil-may-care, casual, careless
    louche, disreputable, dissolute, dissipated, debauched, decadent
    View synonyms


Early 19th century: from riff-raff + -ish.