- at a distance, especially in feeling or interest; apart: They always stood aloof from their classmates.
- reserved or reticent; indifferent; disinterested: Because of his shyness, he had the reputation of being aloof.
- distant, unsympathetic, or supercilious in manner, attitude, or feeling
1530s, from a- (1) + Middle English loof “weather gage,” also “windward direction,” probably from Dutch loef (Middle Dutch lof) “the weather side of a ship.” Originally a nautical order to keep the ship’s head to the wind, thus to stay clear of a lee-shore or some other quarter; hence the figurative sense of “at a distance, apart” (1580s). Related: Aloofly; aloofness.