ruf·​fle | \ˈrə-fəl \
ruffled; ruffling\ˈrə-​f(ə-​)liŋ \

Definition of ruffle 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : roughen, abrade

b : trouble, vex is not ruffled by such barbs— Bruce Anderson

2 : to erect in or like a ruff : to cause to rise or bristle a bird ruffling its feathers

3a : to flip through ruffle the pages of a book

b : shuffle

4 : to make into a ruffle

intransitive verb

: to become ruffled their dispositions ruffle perceptiblyLife


noun (1)

Definition of ruffle (Entry 2 of 3)

2 : a state or cause of irritation

3a : a strip of fabric gathered or pleated on one edge

b : ruff entry 2 sense 2

4 : an unevenness or disturbance of surface : ripple


noun (2)

Definition of ruffle (Entry 3 of 3)

: a low vibrating drumbeat less loud than a roll

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Other Words from ruffle

Noun (1)

ruffly \ˈrə-​f(ə-​)lē \ adjective

Examples of ruffle in a Sentence


Her hair was ruffled by the wind. He ruffled some people with his constant complaining.

First Known Use of ruffle


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1694, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ruffle


Middle English ruffelen; akin to Low German ruffelen to crumple

Noun (2)

ruff a drumbeat

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Time Traveler for ruffle

The first known use of ruffle was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of ruffle

: to move or lift (something) so that it is no longer smooth

: to make (someone) irritated, annoyed, worried, etc.


ruf·​fle | \ˈrə-fəl \
ruffled; ruffling

Kids Definition of ruffle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to move or lift so as to disturb the smoothness of The waters of Bird Lake were ruffled by the strong, mighty wind …— E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan

2 : trouble entry 2 sense 1, vex You're so calm. Nothing ever ruffles you.



Kids Definition of ruffle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a strip of fabric gathered or pleated on one edge

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruffle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ruffle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruffle

Spanish Central: Translation of ruffle

Nglish: Translation of ruffle for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ruffle

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


a nest or breeding place

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