Definition of scruffy in English:



  • 1Shabby and untidy or dirty.

    ‘a teenager in scruffy jeans and a baggy T-shirt’
    • ‘Bit scruffy and mangy himself, but blessed with a true heart of gold.’
    • ‘The whole head is fluffed up and gently back-combed, so that it looks scruffy and unkempt.’
    • ‘Certain parts of Bolton are dirty and scruffy, caused by a minority of dirty people and neglect.’
    • ‘Born in 1912, Turing was a shy, scruffy young man, but a gifted mathematician and scientist.’
    • ‘I always promised to do better but I was an incurably scruffy boy who never did do well on the pulled-up socks side of life.’
    • ‘If the jeans were baggy and scruffy, the whole outfit would be unbalanced.’
    • ‘I felt ashamed to let anyone come to the flat because it was filthy, smelly and scruffy.’
    • ‘It's all about contrasts and contradictions - the smart and the scruffy, the rough and the smooth.’
    • ‘One had blond hair and was scruffy, with a blue top and jeans, while the other wore a dark blue top.’
    • ‘His scruffy appearance made him look dirty next to the clean bright sterile walls of the hospital.’
    • ‘There was just one other sad, unfulfilled customer at the bar, trying to catch the eye of the scruffy teen working the pumps.’
    • ‘And then he glanced at his own almost crumpled gray shirt and the plain scruffy jeans.’
    • ‘He was looking down, he was scruffy, he had dirty jeans and he was not on this planet.’
    • ‘I wore it to some rather posh restaurants and not once did I feel scruffy or unkempt.’
    • ‘My winter coat is too warm for this time of year and my jeans jacket is too scruffy for work.’
    • ‘Zach was decked out in the same scruffy jeans he'd been wearing in the video.’
    • ‘He pulls his curly locks back into a bushy ponytail and wears a somewhat scruffy goatee.’
    • ‘He's dressed in scruffy jeans and a faded biker jacket, talking in quiet, understated tones.’
    • ‘In seconds, it seemed, she was back in her scruffy jeans and rainbow fingerless gloves, ready to go.’
    • ‘Having arrived at 9am from Aberdeen, the pair were clad more as mad hatters tea party than scruffy gig chic.’
    shabby, worn, down at heel, shoddy, ragged, tattered, mangy, sorry, run down, disreputable
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  • 2(of a man's face) having short, bristly hairs as a result of not having been shaved for a while.

    ‘his employer has gotten used to seeing his face becoming scruffier each spring’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘covered with scurf’): from scruff ‘scurf’, variant of scurf, + -y. The sense ‘shabby’ dates from the late 19th century.