ruffian 1530s, from M.Fr. rufian "a pimp," from It. ruffiano "a pander, pimp," of uncertain origin, perhaps from a Germanic source related to ROUGH (Cf. rough) (q.v.), but Du. roffiaan, Ger. Ruffian are said to be from French. English meaning might have been influenced by similarity of sound to rough. The Romanic words (e.g. M.L. ruffianus, Prov. rufian, Catalan rufia, Sp. rufian) preserve the sense of "protector or owner of whores." For sense evolution in English, Cf. BULLY (Cf. bully).

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  • ruffian — [ ryfjɑ̃ ] n. m. VAR. rufian • XIVe; it. ruffiano, du rad. germ. hruf « croûte », pour qualifier, par métaph., la rudesse, la grossièreté ♦ Vx ou littér. Entremetteur, souteneur. « une espèce de grand voyou, commissionnaire, marchand de journaux …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ruffian — (17 avril 1972 – 7 juillet 1975) est une jument américaine considérée comme l un des meilleurs chevaux de courses américaines au XXe siècle. Sommaire 1 Carrière 2 Palmarès récompenses 2.1 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ruffian — Ruf fian (r[u^]f yan or r[u^]f f[i^]*an; 277), n. [F. rufien, OF. ruffien, ruffian, pimp, libertine, rake; cf. Pr. & Sp. rufian, It. ruffiano; all perhaps of German or Dutch origin; cf. G. raufen to pluck, scuffle, fight, OD. roffen to pander. Cf …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ruffian — Ruf fian, v. i. To play the ruffian; to rage; to raise tumult. [R.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ruffian — Ruf fian, a. Brutal; cruel; savagely boisterous; murderous; as, ruffian rage. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ruffian — index aggressor, delinquent, hoodlum, malefactor Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • ruffian — [n] hoodlum brute, bully, criminal, delinquent, gangster, goon*, hood, hooligan, mobster, punk, rioter, rowdy, thug, tough guy*, troublemaker; concept 412 …   New thesaurus

  • ruffian — ► NOUN ▪ a violent or lawless person. DERIVATIVES ruffianism noun ruffianly adjective. ORIGIN Old French, from Italian ruffiano, perhaps from dialect rofia scab, scurf …   English terms dictionary

  • ruffian — [ruf′ē ən, ruf′yən] n. [Fr rufian < It ruffiano, a pander < dial. roffia, filth < Gmc * hruf , scurf (akin to OHG ruf, OE hreof) < IE base * kreup > Lith kraupus, rough: E sense infl. by ROUGH] a brutal, violent, lawless person;… …   English World dictionary

  • Ruffian — A ruffian can be defined as a scoundrel, rascal or unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person. [] As a proper noun, Ruffian may refer to:*Ruffian (horse), a famous thoroughbred filly racehorse *Ruffian… …   Wikipedia

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