Nautical origins of common words brazenly stolen from See the Sea.
Aloof: A nautical order to keep the ship’s head to the wind, thus to stay clear of a lee shore or some other quarter. The front part of the sail which meets the wind is called the luff. A sailing vessel that could point higher to windward and hold its speed better than another was said to stand apart or to sail a-luff that later became aloof. Today the word is used to describe a person who is distant or stands apart from the others.