1. an unkempt, messy person; also a term of abuse.
|Scarperer (1966) 16: Shut your ignorant mouth, yous perishing scruff.|
|Complete Molesworth (1985) 377: Scram, scruff! Or I will do you!|
|Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 154: He was in his Oxford Street scruff gear.|
|Fixx 146: I pushed my way through a crowd of scruffs.|
|(con. 1950s) Slab Boys [film script] 123: Anyhow, it’s a lot better than hangin’ aboot wi’ scruff!|
|Glue 45: Thi’ll be like gold dust for they fuckin scruffs.|
|Killing Pool 60: The pallid, haggard-looking scruff is none other than former LFC idol Georgie bloody Smallwood.|
2. pornographic literature.
|Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 98 Oct. 25: scruff n. Pornography; muck. Also scruff-mag, scruffy literature. ‘Look what I’ve got,’ said William breathlessly as he emptied the contents of his jumper at the Outlaws’ feet. ‘It’s a load of scruff. Jumble found it under a hedge.’ (from ‘William’s Milk Race’, by Richmal Crompton).|
1. a down-and-out.
|DSUE (8th edn) 1028/1: since ca. 1930.|
2. a messy, unkempt person (or animal, see cit. 1987).
|Bazaar and Rummage 4: You’re usually such a scruff-bag. Of course, I know it’s de rigueur to dress à la bohemian at college but . . .|
|(con. 1920s) Emerald Square 154: She was usually a very nervous bitch and my pugnacious little heart used to rage at the sight of her running before some little scruff-bag of a terrier, half her size.|
|Guardian 24 Sept. [Internet] Even in his pinstripe suit, he is still a scruffbag. That’s always been part of his appeal.|
3. attrib. use of sense 2.
|Guardian 24 Aug. [Internet] His campaign for Birds Eye featured two scruffbag Yorkshire brothers who liked to make pictures out of their food.|
a rough, tough individual.
|(con. 1940s) Borstal Boy 86: This pack of Limeys would be scruff-hounds.|