ruffian (plural ruffians)
- A scoundrel, rascal, or unprincipled, deceitful, brutal and unreliable person.
- 1591 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene i], page 145, column 1:
- What wilt thou on thy death-bed play the Ruffian?
- 1894, George du Maurier, “Part Fifth: Little Billee: An Interlude”, in Trilby: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, →OCLC, page 259:
- It was at Count Siloszech's. He'd heard her sing in the streets, with a tall, black-bearded ruffian, who accompanied her on a guitar, and a little fiddling gypsy fellow. She was a handsome woman, with hair down to her knees, but stupid as an owl.
- (obsolete) A pimp; a pander.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:pimp
- (obsolete) A lover; a paramour.
- 1621, John Reynolds, The Triumphs of God's Revenge against the crying and execrable Sinne of Murther:
- He [her husband] is no sooner abroad than she is instantly at home, revelling with her ruffians.
- To play the ruffian; to rage; to raise tumult.
- c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Othello, the Moore of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i]:
- Methinks the wind does speak aloud at land; A fuller blast ne'er shook our battlements. If it hath ruffianed so upon the sea.
- Brutal; cruel; savagely boisterous; murderous.
- ruffian rage
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “ruffian”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)
ruffian m (plural ruffians)
- Alternative spelling of