Definition of ruffian in English:

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ruffian

Pronunciation: /ˈrəfēən/

noun

A violent person, especially one involved in crime.
Example sentences
  • Well, so long as he could hide his emotions when they crossed paths with the thieves - bullies and ruffians were always drawn to the fearful.
  • The tactics of the violent ruffians failed in this year's election.
  • Vidocq served a lucrative apprenticeship with various ruffians, vagabonds and swindlers.
Synonyms
thug, lout, hooligan, hoodlum, vandal, delinquent, rowdy, scoundrel, villain, rogue, bully, brute
informal tough, roughneck, bruiser, hardman, heavy, yahoo, knuckle-dragger, goon

Derivatives

ruffianism

Pronunciation: /-ˌnizəm/
noun
Example sentences
  • And the state tolerated ruffianism so long as disorder was kept at a minimum, and its authority was not fundamentally challenged.

ruffianly

Pronunciation: /ˈrəfēənlē/
adverb
Example sentences
  • I do apologise for my ruffianly appearance, ma'am.
  • Presently the man whistled and another ruffianly person sprang out from near the gate at the corner of the Grotto-field and joined his companion.
  • Such rowdy, ruffianly, and apparently motiveless violence has a much longer history than the term hooligan.

Origin

Late 15th century: from Old French ruffian, from Italian ruffiano, perhaps from dialect rofia 'scab, scurf', of Germanic origin.

More
  • This is from Old French ruffian, from Italian ruffiano, perhaps from dialect rofia ‘scab, scurf’, of Germanic origin.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ruf·fi·an

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