To be aloof is to distance oneself from something and dates from the early 16th century. Its origin is a Dutch sailing term from at least a century earlier. A Dutch sea captain would order his helmsman, “Te loef”, which meant to head into the wind or to take the wind gauge. The English version of this is luff, which is still a technical yachting term for sailing into the wind. This sailing manoeuvre would inevitably involve moving away from an existing course and, by the early 16th century, it had taken on its figurative meaning of moving away from or standing aloof from certain situations. See also Standoffish.