- A violent person, especially one involved in crime.More example sentences
thug, scoundrel, villain, rogue, rascal, lout, hooligan, hoodlum, vandal, delinquent, rowdy, bully boy, bully, brute; Australian larrikinNorth American • informal hood, goonAustralian/New Zealand • informal roughie, hoon• archaic miscreant• rare myrmidon
- 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.
- More 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.
late 15th century: from Old French ruffian, from Italian ruffiano, perhaps from dialect rofia 'scab, scurf', of Germanic origin.