Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Cheaply or showily vulgar in appearance or nature; tawdry.
  • adj. Characterized by a carefree or fun-loving unconventionality; rakish.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Characterized by careless unconventionality; rakish.
  • adj. Low-class; disreputable; vulgar.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Resembling, or having the character of, raff, or a raff; worthless; low.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Resembling or having the character of the raff or rabble; scampish; worthless; rowdy. Compare raff, n., 5.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. marked by a carefree unconventionality or disreputableness
  • adj. marked by up-to-dateness in dress and manners

Etymologies

Probably from dialectal raff, rubbish, from Middle English raf, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • There’s a lot of good info here, though I did want to let you know something – I am running Ubuntu with the up-to-date beta of FireFox, and the design of your site is kind of raffish for me.

    Top 10 Movie Disappointments Part 1 | CurveHouse.com

  • Others might regard him as a conscienceless, borderline psychopath, and the riveting central performance by Rhys Ifans, who plays Marks as a charming, raffish boyo from the Welsh valleys, doesn't wholly preclude such an interpretation.

    Mr Nice – review

  • As a child swot, though, I felt a responsibility to my family to enter a "respectable" profession I dutifully studied law but found journalism's raffish camaraderie more accommodating.

    Back to the land: from London to sheep farming on Eigg

  • A mustachioed man in a pullover meets a wavy-haired blonde to produce a figure with an oddly raffish cavalier look; a middle-aged woman with a complex hairdo acquires the aquiline nose of the actor she obscures.

    Brian Dillon on John Stezaker at the Whitechapel Gallery

  • I suggested "The King's Speech," and, not wanting to spoil it with too many details, gave a shorthand description: Colin Firth as King George VI, who has a terrible stutter, and Geoffrey Rush as a raffish Australian speech therapist.

    'Gnomeo': A Bard's Garden of Delights

  • Something of the devotion of the parents is clearly visible here, as well as the almost raffish informality of the Australian golden boy and heir to Kilmany Park and Craigellachie.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • Finally there is raffish Uncle Roy of the 13th Hussars, with his moustaches, bow tie, and pumps, looking somehow prematurely older than he should.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • The past few years have seen Daniel Sinsel discard hia dark enchantment with male porn stars: black-eyed young men who gazed from his canvases like raffish Pans with a taste for S&M.

    This week's new exhibitions

  • He extinguishes his cigarette, buttons up his raffish crushed velvet overcoat and volleys wide from eight or nine yards.

    Manchester United v Crystal Palace

  • In the 18 months since his diagnosis with oesophageal cancer, Christopher lost his beautiful voice, his raffish air, his optimism and swagger.

    Christopher Hitchens: my friend, a man who never lost his taste for intimacy and good conversation | Henry Porter

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