ruffian

[ruhf-ee-uhn, ruhf-yuhn]
noun
1.
a tough, lawless person; roughneck; bully.
adjective
2.
Also, ruffianly. tough; lawless; brutal.

Origin:
1525–35; < Middle French < Italian ruffiano, perhaps < Langobardic *hruf scurf + Italian -ano -an


1. brute, tough, knave, rogue, blackguard.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To ruffian
Collins
World English Dictionary
ruffian (ˈrʌfɪən)
 
n
a violent or lawless person; hoodlum or villain
 
[C16: from Old French rufien, from Italian ruffiano, perhaps related to Langobardic hruf scurf, scabbiness]
 
'ruffianism
 
n
 
'ruffianly
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ruffian
1531, from M.Fr. rufian "a pimp," from It. ruffiano "a pander, pimp," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Gmc. source related to rough (q.v.), but Du. roffiaan, Ger. Ruffian are said to be from French. Eng. meaning may have been influenced by similarity of sound to rough.
The Romanic words (e.g. M.L. ruffianus, Prov. rufian, Catalan rufia, Sp. rufian) preserve the sense of "protector or owner of whores." For sense evolution in Eng., cf. bully.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Ruffian makes a similar version and although it's no steal it's still only a third of the cost.
It reminds me of pogo dancing and getting slammed into by ruffian teenage boys on the dance floor.
The ruffian was cut to pieces upon the spot, but first killed another of the
  courtiers.
My first impulse was to throttle the old ruffian and make for the open air.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature