From its sound; Carroll explained the word as "a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish."


uffish ‎(comparative more uffish, superlative most uffish)

  1. (nonce word) grumpy, ill-tempered
    • 1872, Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky (poem in Through the Looking-Glass)
      And, as in uffish thought he stood, / The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, / Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, / And burbled as it came!
    • 1874, Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark
      The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
    • 1956, Lawrence Johnstone Burpee, Canadian geographical journal (volumes 52-53)
      Its great Cham was Wells, whose highly readable prose flowed easily between the line-drawings of behemoths in the coal swamps and Neanderthal man looking uffish.