What is the difference between aloof and standoffish?


Senior Member
Standoffish - reserved and cool; aloof

aloof -
Emotionally reserved or indifferent

I see standoffish has aloof in it's definition, but sentences look the same in meaning. I heard every word has a different meaning to it.
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    I think "standoffish" implies a deliberate attitude while aloofness might just be a part of a person's nature. "Standoffish" also has a negative connotation that "aloof" doesn't have in the same way, to me.

    A couple of related threads:


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I agree with Andrew; not a commonly seen word. I think I ran into "aloof" when studying what breed of dog to get.

    The American Kennel Association gives this as a partial description of the character of a German Shepherd Dog:

    Temperament: The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression, self-confidence and a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.

    (Emphasis added by me.)

    I'm fairly certain I did not ever use the word before studying the breed standard excerpted above.

    "Aloof" is a more versatile word. You can have aloofness, but standoffishness sound really odd.
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