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

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

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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

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
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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
My first impulse was to throttle the old ruffian and make for the open air.
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