Definition of raffish in English:


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  • Unconventional and slightly disreputable, especially in an attractive manner.

    ‘his raffish air’
    • ‘Artists and antique dealers have moved in, giving the neighbourhood a raffish bohemian energy.’
    • ‘At times, according to historical reports, the concert venues had the raffish air of a beer hall.’
    • ‘Brighton, on the south coast and one hour by train from London, is the most raffish, louche and exciting of British seaside towns.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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's very sexy, with heavy-lidded bedroom eyes and a raffish swagger.’
    • ‘The Bahamas' capital, with its large, sheltered harbour, has swung many times from boomtown to backwater and back again in its rather raffish past.’
    • ‘Yorkshire's most famous soul singer has matured into a handsome, outwardly respectable middle-aged man with a raffish undertow.’
    • ‘He is an engaging man, with a raffish grin.’
    • ‘I adopted a raffish and enigmatic smile and shrugged.’
    • ‘Less tightly wound and introspective than his brother, he prefers to present a raffish, happy-go-lucky attitude.’
    • ‘Artists enjoy seeing themselves as raffish outsiders, people of dubious morality.’
    • ‘The parents of these churlish, raffish youths should be held responsible.’
    • ‘In the southern chain of small islands, Cooper Island has a raffish charm.’
    • ‘Even the raffish collection of outsiders that have washed up there seem part of the patchwork.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A one-time fishing village, it has a beat-up, raffish looking downtown surrounded by new, big marinas.’
    rakish, jaunty, dapper, dashing, sporty, flashy
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/ˈrafiSH/ /ˈræfɪʃ/


Early 19th century from riffraff+ -ish.