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See also: rüffle


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  • IPA(key): ˈɹʌfəl
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌfəl


ruffle (plural ruffles)

  1. Any gathered or curled strip of fabric added as trim or decoration.
    She loved the dress with the lace ruffle at the hem.
    • 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.
  2. Disturbance; agitation; commotion.
    to put the mind in a ruffle
  3. (military) A low, vibrating beat of a drum, quieter than a roll; a ruff.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of H. L. Scott to this entry?)
  4. (zoology) The connected series of large egg capsules, or oothecae, of several species of American marine gastropods of the genus Fulgur.




ruffle (third-person singular simple present ruffles, present participle ruffling, simple past and past participle ruffled)

  1. (transitive) To make a ruffle in; to curl or flute, as an edge of fabric.
    Ruffle the end of the cuff.
  2. (transitive) To disturb; especially, to cause to flutter.
    The wind ruffled the papers.
    Her sudden volley of insults ruffled his composure.
    • 2018 February 24, Paul Rees, “Finn Russell masterminds historic Scotland victory over England”, in The Guardian[1], 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.
    • I. Taylor
      the fantastic revelries [] that so often ruffled the placid bosom of the Nile
    • Sir W. Hamilton
      These ruffle the tranquillity of the mind.
    • Dryden
      She smoothed the ruffled seas.
    • Tennyson
      But, ever after, the small violence done / Rankled in him and ruffled all his heart.
  3. (intransitive) To grow rough, boisterous, or turbulent.
    • Shakespeare
      The night comes on, and the bleak winds / Do sorely ruffle.
  4. (intransitive) To become disordered; to play loosely; to flutter.
    • Dryden
      On his right shoulder his thick mane reclined, / Ruffles at speed, and dances in the wind.
  5. (intransitive) To be rough; to jar; to be in contention; hence, to put on airs; to swagger.
    • Francis Bacon
      They would ruffle with jurors.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      gallants who ruffled in silk and embroidery
  6. To make into a ruff; to draw or contract into puckers, plaits, or folds; to wrinkle.
  7. To erect in a ruff, as feathers.
    • Tennyson
      [The swan] ruffles her pure cold plume.
  8. (military) To beat with the ruff or ruffle, as a drum.
  9. To throw together in a disorderly manner.
    • Chapman
      I ruffled up fallen leaves in heap.


Derived terms[edit]