A Word A Day : Ruffian

Monday, 21st April 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Noun )

Pronunciation : rúffee-an


1. A tough or rowdy person

2. A thug or gangster

3. A person who treats others violently and roughly, especially for hire

4. A ruffian can be defined as a scoundrel, rascal or unprincipled, deceitful and unreliable person


French, pimp, from Old French rufien, from Old Provençal rufian, from Old Italian ruffiano.


hoodlum, mug, roughneck, rowdy, tough, bully, tough, hooligan, roughneck, yob, yobo, yobbo


Civilised, cultured

Contextual Examples:

• The ruffian Woodley was a very different person, but, except on one occasion, he had not molested our client, and now he visited the house of Carruthers without intruding upon her presence.

• It was like a dream in which a man fancies that a ruffian is coming to attack him.

Related Words:

ruffianism : Noun

ruffianly : Adjective

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