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ruff1

[ruhf] /rʌf/
noun
1.
a neckpiece or collar of lace, lawn, or the like, gathered or drawn into deep, full, regular folds, worn in the 16th and 17th centuries.
2.
something resembling such a piece in form or position.
3.
a collar, or set of lengthened or specially marked hairs or feathers, on the neck of an animal.
4.
Ornithology. a species of European and Asian sandpiper, Philomachus pugnax, the male of which has a large erectile ruff of feathers during the breeding season.
Compare reeve3 .
5.
Alaska and Northern Canada. a fringe of fur around the edge of a parka hood or along the edges of a jacket.
verb (used with object)
6.
tease (def 3).
Origin
1515-1525
1515-25; perhaps back formation from ruffle1
Related forms
rufflike, adjective
Can be confused
rough, ruff.

ruff2

[ruhf] /rʌf/
noun
1.
an act or instance of trumping when one cannot follow suit.
2.
an old game of cards, resembling whist.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
3.
to trump when unable to follow suit.
Origin
1580-90; probably < French ro(u)ffle; cognate with Italian ronfa a card game, probably < German Trumpf trump1

ruff3

[ruhf] /rʌf/
noun
1.
a small European freshwater fish, Acerina cernua, of the perch family.
Origin
1400-50; Middle English ruf, roffe; perhaps special use of rough
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for ruffs

ruff1

/rʌf/
noun
1.
a circular pleated, gathered, or fluted collar of lawn, muslin, etc, often starched or wired, worn by both men and women in the 16th and 17th centuries
2.
(zoology) a natural growth of long or coloured hair or feathers around the necks of certain animals or birds
3.
  1. an Old World shore bird, Philomachus pugnax, the male of which has a large erectile ruff of feathers in the breeding season: family Scolopacidae (sandpipers, etc), order Charadriiformes
  2. the male of this bird Compare reeve3
Derived Forms
rufflike, adjective
Word Origin
C16: back formation from ruffle1

ruff2

/rʌf/
noun (cards)
1.
another word for trump1
2.
an old card game similar to whist
verb
3.
(cards) another word for trump1 (sense 4)
Word Origin
C16: from Old French roffle; perhaps changed from Italian trionfatrump1

ruff3

/rʌf/
noun
1.
another name for roughie1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for ruffs

ruff

n.

kind of large collar, stiffly starched, especially common in the seventeenth century, 1520s, originally in reference to sleeves (of collars, from 1550s), probably a shortened form of ruffle.

Card-playing sense is a separate word, from a former game of that name (1580s), from Middle French roffle, earlier romfle (early 15c.), from Italian ronfa, perhaps a corruption of trionfo "triumph" (from French; cf. trump). The game was in vogue c.1590-1630.

v.

in cards, 1760, from ruff (n.). Related: Ruffed; ruffing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for ruffs

ruff

in zoology, Old World bird (Philomachus pugnax), of the sandpiper subfamily Calidritinae (family Scolopacidae) remarkable for its courtship plumage and behaviour. The name ruff applies to the species or may be applied to the male only. In spring the 30-centimetre (12-inch) male acquires a double crest ("cape") and a collar ("ruff"); these may contain reddish, brown, black, and white feathers in proportions that vary with the individual (the most extreme case of polymorphism known among birds). The female, called the reeve, is only about 25 centimetres (10 inches) long and is plain grayish brown, as is the male in winter. In the breeding season males gather on a traditional display area (lek), usually a bare hill, and, while the reeves watch, display close together by making short rushes with cape and ruff erect and wings drooping. When a reeve strolls into their midst the males collapse, quivering, with bills stuck into the ground. Then the female chooses one of the males. She builds a nest, incubates the eggs, and raises the chicks alone. The sexes keep apart, even in flocks (further evidence of the extreme dimorphism of the species)

Learn more about ruff with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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