From Middle English ruffelen, perhaps from Old Norse hrufla (“to graze, scratch”) or Middle Low German ruffelen (“to wrinkle, curl”). Further origin unknown. Related to Middle Dutch ruyffelen, German Low German ruffeln. See English ruff.
ruffle (plural ruffles)
- Any gathered or curled strip of fabric added as trim or decoration.
- She loved the dress with the lace ruffle at the hem.
- 1837, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], “A Matrimonial Tête-à-Tête”, in Ethel Churchill: Or, The Two Brides. […], volume II, London: Henry Colburn, […], →OCLC, page 169:
- His dress was splendid; his hands glittered with rings, his snuff-box was covered with diamonds, and his ruffles were of the finest Mechlin lace.
- 1977, Agatha Christie, chapter 4, in An Autobiography, part II, London: Collins, →ISBN:
- Mind you, clothes were clothes in those days. […] Frills, ruffles, flounces, lace, complicated seams and gores: not only did they sweep the ground and have to be held up in one hand elegantly as you walked along, but they had little capes or coats or feather boas.
- Disturbance; agitation; commotion.
- to put the mind in a ruffle
- (military) A low, vibrating beat of a drum, quieter than a roll; a ruff.
- (zoology) The connected series of large egg capsules, or oothecae, of several species of American marine gastropods of the genus Fulgur.
- (transitive) To make a ruffle in; to curl or flute, as an edge of fabric.
- Ruffle the end of the cuff.
- (transitive) To disturb; especially, to cause to flutter.
- The wind ruffled the papers.
- Her sudden volley of insults ruffled his composure.
- 1859, Alfred Tennyson, “Guinevere”, in Idylls of the King, London: Edward Moxon & Co., […], →OCLC, pages 227–228:
- But, ever after, the small violence done / Rankled in him and ruffled all his heart, / As the sharp wind that ruffles all day long / A little bitter pool about a stone / On the bare coast.
- 1860, Sir William Hamilton, Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet:
- These ruffle the tranquillity of the mind.
- 2018 February 24, Paul Rees, “Finn Russell masterminds historic Scotland victory over England”, in The Guardian, London, archived from the original on 22 April 2018:
- [Finn] Russell created his side’s three first-half tries, ruffling a defence known for its composure, and dictated the match from the off.
- (intransitive) To grow rough, boisterous, or turbulent.
- (intransitive) To become disordered; to play loosely; to flutter.
- (intransitive) To be rough; to jar; to be in contention; hence, to put on airs; to swagger.
- 1622, Francis, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban [i.e. Francis Bacon], The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh, […], London: […] W[illiam] Stansby for Matthew Lownes, and William Barret, →OCLC:
- They would ruffle with jurors.
- To make into a ruff; to draw or contract into puckers, plaits, or folds; to wrinkle.
- To erect in a ruff, as feathers.
- 1842, Alfred Tennyson, “Morte d’Arthur”, in Poems. […], volume II, London: Edward Moxon, […], →OCLC, page 16:
- [T]he barge with oar and sail / Moved from the brink, like some full-breasted swan / That, fluting a wild carol ere her death, / Ruffles her pure cold plume, and takes the flood / With swarthy webs.
- (military) To beat with the ruff or ruffle, as a drum.
- To throw together in a disorderly manner.
- 1614–1615, Homer, “The Seventh Book of Homer’s Odysseys”, in Geo[rge] Chapman, transl., Homer’s Odysses. […], London: […] Rich[ard] Field [and William Jaggard], for Nathaniell Butter, published 1615, →OCLC; republished in The Odysseys of Homer, […], volume I, London: John Russell Smith, […], 1857, →OCLC, page 165, lines 395–397:
- Within a thicket I reposed; when round / I ruffled up fall'n leaves in heap; and found, / Let fall from heaven, a sleep interminate.
- ^ 1863, Henry Lee Scott, Military Dictionary