aloof

That emotionally cold and detached fellow who keeps to himself, smoking clove cigarettes and reading French philosophy, would best be described as aloof.

In Middle English, aloof was originally a nautical term; the loof (now spelled luff) is the windward side of a ship. Smart sailors wanting to avoid a hazard on the leeward side would give the order, "A loof!" From this command we get the idea of steering clear of something (or someone). In modern usage the word has taken on a negative connotation: an aloof person is certainly not one most of us want to associate with.

DEFINITIONS OF: aloof

1

adj remote in manner

“stood apart with aloof dignity”
Synonyms:
distant, upstage
reserved
marked by self-restraint and reticence

adv in an aloof manner

“the local gentry and professional classes had held aloof for the school had accepted their sons readily enough”
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