Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

ruffian

play
noun ruf·fi·an \ˈrə-fē-ən\

Simple Definition of ruffian

  • : a strong and violent person (especially a man) who threatens and hurts other people

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ruffian

  1. :  a brutal person :  bully

ruffian adjective
ruffianism play \-ə-ˌni-zəm\ noun
ruffianly adjective

Examples of ruffian in a sentence

  1. <a gang of ruffians preying upon people who ventured into that section of town>



Origin of ruffian

Middle French rufian


First Known Use: 1531


RUFFIAN Defined for Kids

ruffian

play
noun ruf·fi·an \ˈrə-fē-ən\

Definition of ruffian for Students

  1. :  a violent and cruel person





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ruffian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a timid, meek, or unassertive person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alt-5746713d76276

Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

soothe reduce disapprove perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ