Definition of scruff noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//skrʌf//
; NAmE NAmE//skrʌf//
(British English, informal)
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  • a dirty or untidy person
  • Word Originnoun early 16th cent. (in the sense ‘flakes of skin’): variant of scurf ‘flakes of skin’. The word came to mean ‘worthless thing’, whence the current sense (mid 19th cent.).Idioms
    by the scruff of the/somebody’s neck
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    roughly holding the back of an animal’s or person’s neck She grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and threw him out.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: scruff