ruff

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See also: Ruff

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

A 1724 mezzotint of Sir John Coke (1563–1644) wearing a ruff (sense 1) around his neck
Two male ruffs (Philomachus pugnax (syn. Calidris pugnax); sense 3.1) in their breeding plumage. During the mating season, male birds develop a distinctive ruff (sense 3.2) around their necks, and ear-tufts.

Etymology 1[edit]

Clipping of ruffle, or possibly from rough.

Noun[edit]

ruff (plural ruffs)

  1. A circular frill or ruffle on a garment, especially a starched, fluted frill at the neck in Elizabethan and Jacobean England (1560s–1620s).
  2. Anything formed with plaits or flutings like a frill.
  3. Senses relating to animals.
    1. Philomachus pugnax (syn. Calidris pugnax), a gregarious, medium-sized wading bird of Eurasia; specifically, a male of the species which develops a distinctive ruff of feathers and ear tufts during mating season (the female is called a reeve).
      • 1986, Desmond Nethersole-Thompson; Maimie Nethersole-Thompson, “New or Returning Waders”, in Waders: Their Breeding, Haunts and Watchers, Calton, Staffordshire: T. & A. D. Poyser, ISBN 978-0-85661-042-4; republished as Waders: Their Breeding, Haunts and Watchers (Poyser Monographs), London: T. & A. D. Poyser, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-3747-5, page 323:
        A reeve shows her readiness to copulate by crouching in a particular residence. In a crowded lek she selects an individual ruff by turning towards him while still crouching. Some ruffs are thus chosen frequently while others are never selected. Ruff and reeve only copulate after she has crouched and has sometimes nibbled the feathers at the back of the ruff’s head.
      • 1991, Johan G. van Rhijn, “The Vigilant Mother”, in The Ruff: Individuality in a Gregarious Wading Bird, London: T. & A. D. Poyser, ISBN 978-0-85661-062-2; republished as The Ruff: Individuality in a Gregarious Wading Bird (Poyser Monographs), London: T. & A. D. Poyser, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4081-3678-2, page 111:
        During late spring and early summer it becomes difficult to detect Ruffs in their breeding habitat. The males no longer visit the leks, and most have left the area. Some of the females may still be sitting on their eggs, invisible to casual passers-by.
    2. (ornithology) A set of lengthened or otherwise modified feathers on or around the neck of a bird.
      • 1794, William Bartram, chapter V, in Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws. Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of those Regions; together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians. Embellished with Copper-plates, 2nd London edition, Philadelphia, Pa.: Printed by James and Johnson; London: Reprinted for J. Johnson, in St. Paul's Church-yard, OCLC 941618708, pages 148–149:
        I ſhall call this bird the painted vulture. [] the head and neck bare of feathers nearly down to the ſtomach, when the feathers begin to cover the ſkin, and ſoon become long and of a ſoft texture, forming a ruff or tippet, in which the bird by contracting his neck can hide that as well as his head: []
      • 2016, Paul A[ustin] Johnsgard, “Introduction to the North American Grouse”, in The North American Grouse: Their Biology and Behavior, Lincoln, Neb.: Zea Books, ISBN 978-1-60962-087-5, page 9, column 1:
        In the ruffed grouse, the special "ruff" feathers are borne on the lateral branches of the lower cervical feather tract.
    3. (zoology) A collar of lengthened or distinctively coloured fur on or around the neck of an animal.
      • 2005, Eskandar Firouz, “Mammals of Iran”, in The Complete Fauna of Iran, London; New York, N.Y.: I.B. Tauris, ISBN 978-1-85043-946-2, page 88:
        The Afghan urial, which is smaller than the Transcaspian urial, is found in the mountains near Iran's eastern frontier, and is the wild sheep of Afghanistan and western Pakistan. Its ruff is black sprinkled with white hairs and its bib is white.
      • 2017 April, Marie Brennan [pseudonym; Bryn Neuenschwander], chapter 10, in Within the Sanctuary of Wings: A Memoir by Lady Trent, New York, N.Y.: Tor Books, ISBN 978-0-7653-7765-4, page 151:
        The creature coming toward me went instantly still. On the other side of the fire, one of them jerked upright and popped its ruff as wide as it would go. The other lunged to the side of the second and clamped one clawed hand around its muzzle.
  4. (engineering) A collar on a shaft or other piece to prevent endwise motion.
    • 1835 January, “A Method of Working the Slides and Valves of Steam Engines when Using Steam Expansively”, in The Repertory of Patent Inventions, and Other Discoveries & Improvements in Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture; [...], volume III, number XIII (New Series), London: Published for the proprietor, by Simpkin, Marshall, and Co. Stationers' Hall Court, OCLC 191047082, page 63, column 1:
      The stroke of the cut-off valves is very short, and the ruffs on the parts, g, g, regulate its length.
    • 1846 February 25, “Specification of the Patent Granted to William Robertson, Machine-maker, of Gateside, in the Parish of Neilston, Renfrewshire, for Certain Improvements in the Machinery for Spinning and Twisting Cotton, Silk, Wool, Flax, and Other Fibrous Substances.—Sealed Feb. 25, 1846”, in The Repertory of Patent Inventions, and Other Discoveries & Improvements in Arts, Manufactures, and Agriculture; [...], volume VIII, number 4 (Enlarged Series), London: Published for the proprietor, by Alexander Macintosh, Great New Street; and sold by Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., Stationers' Hall Court; J. Weale, High Holborn; and G. Hebert, Cheapside, published October 1846, OCLC 191047082, page 205:
      This plate has a slot in it lengthwise to admit of its being shifted a sixth part of the circumference of the ruff, [].
  5. (obsolete) An exhibition of haughtiness or pride.
  6. (obsolete) Tumultuous or wanton conduct or procedure.
    • 1549 March 15, Hugh Latimer, “The Second Sermon of Master Hugh Latimer, which He Preached before the King’s Majesty, within His Grace’s Palace at Westminster, the Fifteenth Day of March, 1549”, in George Elwes Corrie, editor, The Works of Hugh Latimer, sometime Bishop of Worcester, Martyr, 1555. Edited for the Parker Society, by the Rev. George Elwes Corrie, B.D. [...], volume I, Cambridge: Printed at the University Press, published 1844, OCLC 796947594, pages 108–109:
      Thou must not pill and poll thy tenant, that thou mayest have, as they say, Unde, and that thy never enough, to ruffle it out in a riotous ruff, and a prodigal, dissolute, and licentious living.
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

ruff (third-person singular simple present ruffs, present participle ruffing, simple past and past participle ruffed)

  1. (transitive) To shape (fabric, etc.) into a ruff; to adorn (a garment, etc.) with a ruff.
    • 1810 December 6, H. R., “Venus Preserved; or, The Plot Discovered”, in The Monthly Repertory of English Literature, Arts, Sciences, etc., volume XII, number XLVIII, Paris: Printed by Belin, rue des Mathurins-St.-Jacques, Hôtel Cluny; for Galignani, (late Parsons, Galignani, and Co.) bookseller, rue Vivienne, No. 17, published March 1811, OCLC 472474509, page 490:
      The ladies have been carped at, and their dress; / You wanted them ruffed up like good Queen Bess; []
  2. (transitive, falconry) Of a falcon, hawk, etc.: to hit (the prey) without fixing or grabbing hold of it.
    • 1888, Good Words, volume 29, London: Alexander Strahan and Co., OCLC 1009003628, page 616:
      Instantly the keen-eyed hawk "stooped," or descended, with a rushing swoop, and struck one of the birds with her claws, but without killing it, which is called "rifling," or "ruffing" it.
  3. (rare, transitive) To ruffle; to disorder.
  4. (obsolete, transitive) Of a bird: to ruffle its feathers.
  5. (obsolete, transitive) To boast, to brag.
  6. (obsolete, intransitive) To speak in a loud and domineering manner; to bluster, to swagger.
    • 1831, “the Ettrick Shepherd” [pseudonym; James Hogg], “The Noctes Sang”, in Songs, by the Ettrick Shepherd. Now First Collected, Edinburgh: William Blackwood; London: T[homas] Cadell, OCLC 3955560:
      [] Mr Gillies ruffed and screamed out so loud in approbation, that he fell from his chair, and brought an American gentleman down with him.

Etymology 2[edit]

The Eurasian ruff or ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua or Gymnocephalus cernuus; sense 1)
The ruff or Australian herring (Arripis georgianus; sense 2)

Possibly from rough.

Noun[edit]

ruff (plural ruffs)

  1. Alternative spelling of ruffe: a small freshwater fish of the genus Gymnocephalus; specifically the Eurasian ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua or Gymnocephalus cernuus) which has spiny fins; the pope.
    • [1661, Robert Lovell, “Isagoge Zoologicomineralogica. Or An Introduction to the History of Animals and Minerals, or Panzoographie, and Pammineralogie”, in ΠΑΝΖΩΟΡΥΚΤΟΛΟΓΙΑ [Panzōoryktologia]. Sive Panzoologicomineralogia. Or a Compleat History of Animals and Minerals, Containing the Summe of All Authors, both Ancient and Modern, Galenicall and Chymicall, [...], Oxford: Printed by Hen[ry] Hall, fo Jos[eph] Godwin, OCLC 79920846:
      Of Fiſhes thoſe we feed on in England, are either ſcaled, as ſturgian, ſalmon, grailing, ſhuins, carps, breams, the barbel, mullet, pike, luce, perch, ruffs, herrings, ſprats, pilchers, roche, ſhads, dorry, gudgin, and umbers; [] ]
      It is not clear which species of fish is referred to in this work.
    • 1703, “Norfolk”, in An Universal, Historical, Geographical, Chronological and Poetical, Dictionary, Exactly Describing the Situation, Extent, Customs, Laws, Manners, Commodities, &c. of All Kingdoms, Commonwealths, Provinces, Islands and Cities, in the Known World. [...], volume II, London: Printed for J. Hartley, next the Kings-Head Tavern in Holborn; W. Turner, at the Angel in Lincolns-Inn Back Gate; and Tho[mas] Hodgson, over against Grays-Inn Gate in Holborn, OCLC 642289644, column 2:
      Its Principal R[iver] of all thoſe mention'd, is the Yare on which Norwich and Yarmouth ſtands, in which R[iver] the Ruff, a Fish is found, remarkable for being all over Prickles; []
  2. Arripis georgianus, a fish found in cool waters off the southern coast of Australia; the Australian herring or tommy ruff(Please check if this is already defined at target. Replace {{vern}} with a regular link if already defined. Add novern=1 if not defined.).
    • 2014, Alan Davidson, “Australasian ‘salmon’”, in Tom Jaine, editor, The Oxford Companion to Food, 3rd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7, page 44:
      In the same genus there is another species which makes better eating. This is A[rripis] georgianus, popularly known as the ruff or tommy ruff (again, nothing to do with anything bearing that name in the Old World), but now official called 'Australian herring' (another aberration). [] The ruff, on the other hand, although a smaller fish, makes good eating; its flesh is tender and tasty.
  3. (obsolete) A bottom-dwelling carnivorous fish of the genus Sparidae found in temperate and tropical waters; a porgy or sea bream.
    • [1677, Thomas Holyoke [i.e., Thomas Holyoake], “A Ruff, or Sea-bream”, in A Large Dictionary in Three Parts: I. The English before the Latin, Containing above Ten Thousand Words More Than any Dictionary yet Extant. II. The Latin before the English, [...] III. The Proper Names of Persons, Places, and Other Things Necessary to the Understanding of Historians and Poets. [...], London: Printed by W[illiam] Rawlins, for G[eorge] Sawbridge, W[illiam] Place, T[homas] Basset, T[homas] Dring, J[ohn] Leigh and J[ohn] Place, OCLC 863465780, column 1:
      A Ruff, or Sea-bream. Melanurus.]
Synonyms[edit]
  • (Australian herring (Arripis georgianus)): roughy
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

From Old French roffle, rouffle (earlier romfle, ronfle), or from Italian ronfa (card game similar to whist); these words are possibly from Old French triomphe (a triumph, victory), Italian trionfo (triumph; trump card),[1] from Latin triumphus (hymn to Bacchus; celebration, triumph), ultimately from Ancient Greek θρῐ́ᾰμβος (thríambos, hymn to Dionysius, thriambus). The verb is derived from the noun.

Verb[edit]

ruff (third-person singular simple present ruffs, present participle ruffing, simple past and past participle ruffed) (card games)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To play a trump card to a trick when unable to follow suit (that is, to play a card of the same suit as the previous or leading card). [late 16th c.]
    • 2005, Mark Horton, “2004: Loser Takes Nothing”, in Ray Lee, editor, The Hands of Time: The Best 100 Bridge Deals Ever Played!, Toronto, Ont.: Master Point Press, ISBN 978-1-894154-91-8, page 181:
      Zia [Mahmood] ruffed the club return and then played the ace of hearts and a heart, leaving declarer with another spade loser for two down.
    • 2014, D. K. Acharya, Standard Methods of Contract Bridge Complete: A Methodical Study and Critical Analysis of Bidding, Play, Defence and Other Strategic Instruments including Illustration of about 200 Deals, India: Partridge, Penguin Random House, ISBN 978-1-4828-3710-0, page 181:
      The declarer may not have fear of losing control on trumps, because even after ruffing in one hand, the other hand will have sufficient length to draw the trumps. A 4-4 fit of trumps is considered to be the best and most convenient for the declarer. [] He can easily make 5 or 6 or even 7 tricks in trumps by way of ruffing once, twice or thrice in one hand.
  2. (transitive) Especially in the form ruff out: to defeat (a card, etc.) by ruffing, thus establishing the master card in the suit led.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

ruff (plural ruffs) (card games)

  1. An instance of ruffing, or an opportunity to ruff, when unable to follow suit. [late 16th c.]
  2. (obsolete) A game similar to whist and its predecessor. [late 16th c.]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

Onomatopoeic.

Noun[edit]

ruff (plural ruffs)

  1. (music, often military) A low, vibrating beat of a drum, quieter than a roll; a ruffle.
    • 2003, Rob Lewis, “3 Camps: Rudimental Drum Solo”, in Crosstraining: A Method for Applying Rhythms and Techniques to Drum Set, Hand Percussion and Mallet Instruments, Pacific, Mo.: Mel Bay Productions, ISBN 978-0-7866-6094-0, part 6 (Rudiments and Rudimental Solos), page 71:
      I also used quite a few of the flat-fingered kind of ruff (as used before on the doumbek in the baladi section) to embellish some notes.

Verb[edit]

ruff (third-person singular simple present ruffs, present participle ruffing, simple past and past participle ruffed) (music, often military)

  1. (transitive) To beat a ruff or ruffle, as on a drum.
    • 1823 February, Nalla, “Corporal Colville”, in The London Magazine, volume VII, London: Printed for Taylor and Hessey, 93, Fleet Street, and 13, Waterloo Place, OCLC 977280548, page 136, column 1:
      [A] wooden leg and an empty coat sleeve, and fourteen poor pennies a-day, are all that I have got by allowing myself to be seduced by the cursed din of a Scotchman's bagpipe. I was once a good yeoman, in Kent, and in an evil hour went to the fair at Maidstone. The drum ruffed, and the pipe screamed in the market-place, and away I went to see what was to happen. [] I fairly forgot myself, and scarcely ever knew where I was or what I was doing, till I found myself on board a ship, and saw the olive hills and vineyards of Spain, []
  2. (intransitive) Of a drum, etc.: to have a ruff or ruffle beaten on it.
    • 1836, Tyrone Power, “Trenton Falls”, in Impressions of America, during the Years 1833, 1834, and 1835. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, London: Richard Bentley, New Burlington Street, publisher in ordinary to His Majesty, OCLC 1003943032, page 384:
      If anything could have kept me awake, this cracked drum would; and, in truth, I had my fears, when, on entering my room, I heard my hero ruffing it away immediately in front of the window; but they were groundless apprehensions, though his efforts were varied and unceasing, for I undressed to the tune of the "Grenadiers' March," stepped into bed to the "Reveille," and dropped fast asleep to the first part of "Yankee Doodle!"

Interjection[edit]

ruff

  1. The bark of a dog; arf, woof.
    • 2014, Suzan Kayaalp, “The Visitor”, in The Adventures of Lucky the Duck, New York, N.Y.: Page Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62838-605-9:
      "Ruff, ruff!" Around the corner, a little light brown, short-haired dog came running. On seeing the little brown terrier, Annie and Marie looked at one another. Letting out a moan, Annie said, "Oh no, it's JB! I wish Joyce would take him to dog school and have him taught some manners."

Etymology 5[edit]

Adjective[edit]

ruff (comparative ruffer, superlative ruffest)

  1. (colloquial) Alternative spelling of rough.
    • 1873, Bill Arp [pseudonym; Charles Henry Smith], “Nineteenth Paper: Bill Arp Addresses His Feller Citizens”, in Bill Arp’s Peace Papers, New York, N.Y.: G. W. Carleton & Co., publishers; London: S[ampson] Low, Son & Co., OCLC 3121613, page 128:
      Up to this time it have been an uphill bisness. The teem was a good one, and the gear all sound, and the waggin greasd, but the rode is perhaps the ruffest in the world.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Compare “ruff” (US) / “ruff” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.

Further reading[edit]