• WordNet 3.6
    • n ruffian a cruel and brutal fellow
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Ruffian A boisterous, cruel, brutal fellow; a desperate fellow ready for murderous or cruel deeds; a cutthroat. "Wilt thou on thy deathbed play the ruffian ?"
    • Ruffian A pimp; a pander; also, a paramour. "He [her husband] is no sooner abroad than she is instantly at home, reveling with her ruffians ."
    • Ruffian A tough, lawless or bullying person.
    • a Ruffian Brutal; cruel; savagely boisterous; murderous; as, ruffian rage.
    • v. i Ruffian To play the ruffian; to rage; to raise tumult.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n ruffian A pimp; a pander; a paramour.
    • n ruffian A boisterous, brutal fellow; a fellow ready for any desperate crime; a robber; a cutthroat; a murderer.
    • n ruffian The devil.
    • ruffian Licentious; lascivious: wanton.
    • ruffian Lawless and cruel; brutal: murderous; inhuman: villainous.
    • ruffian Violent; tumultuous; stormy.
    • ruffian To play the ruffian; rage; raise tumult.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Ruffian ruf′i-an a brutal, boisterous fellow: a robber: a murderer: a pander
    • adj Ruffian brutal: boisterous: licentious: stormy
    • v.i Ruffian to play the ruffian, to rage
    • ***


  • William Ernest Henley
    William Ernest Henley
    “Madam, Life's a piece in bloom death goes dogging everywhere: She's the tenant of the room he's the ruffian on the stair.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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. Ruffle, to grow turbulent


In literature:

I met one engaging ruffian who unbosomed himself to me with the utmost frankness.
"Recollections" by David Christie Murray
To induce the ruffian to do his worst was the only way to wring his secret from him.
"A Master of Mysteries" by L. T. Meade
At least a dozen dark-faced, fierce-looking ruffians, mounted on hardy little ponies, were in pursuit.
"Frank Merriwell Down South" by Burt L. Standish
He seized the miner in his powerful grasp, and the ruffian, strong and muscular as he was, was like a child in his clutch.
"The Young Acrobat of the Great North American Circus" by Horatio Alger Jr.
He was a squat, dark ruffian, as malignant as a moccasin snake, and as dangerous as one.
"From Place to Place" by Irvin S. Cobb
You are the murderous ruffian from whose face my father tore the mask!
"Frank Merriwell's Bravery" by Burt L. Standish
Surely this fellow is the prince of ruffians.
"At the Point of the Sword" by Herbert Hayens
He was a surly old ruffian, quick to take offense, and absolutely fearless.
"The Pirate of Panama" by William MacLeod Raine
Why should I chuck away my life in the attempt to bring a desperate ruffian to justice?
"The Sheriff And His Partner" by Frank Harris
But what could we hope to do against the crowd of ruffians who swarmed on board?
"Old Jack" by W.H.G. Kingston
We shouldn't let such ruffians as these live.
"The Rival Crusoes" by W.H.G. Kingston
A portion of the loose earth is pushed in, and packed around him, the ruffians trampling it firm.
"The Death Shot" by Mayne Reid
In one of the new-comers I recognised a ruffian whom I had frequently noticed at the rancheria.
"The War Trail" by Mayne Reid
The passion of revenge had almost destroyed the ruffian love of the one, and the avarice of the other.
"The White Chief" by Mayne Reid
As he grew up he became as audacious and bold a young ruffian as could well be met with.
"Won from the Waves" by W.H.G. Kingston
I was not a little astonished on recognising the ruffian.
"Ran Away to Sea" by Mayne Reid
I rose and slapped the ruffian on the shoulder in a way that would have knocked an ordinary man down.
"A Little Union Scout" by Joel Chandler Harris
And there's a man named Hoddan who's supposed to head a particularly ruffianly gang.
"The Pirates of Ersatz" by Murray Leinster
He was about my place with two ruffians.
"The Vicar of Bullhampton" by Anthony Trollope
My fingers itched to cut the ruffian down, but I restrained myself.
"Wilson's Tales of the Borders and of Scotland Volume 17" by Alexander Leighton

In poetry:

Have patience man! the ruffian said,
A little we may wait,
But longer shall his wife expect
Her husband at the gate.
"Jaspar" by Robert Southey
KING. What rude hand in ruffian anger
Raised its bloody steel against
Beauty so divinely fashioned?
Sorrow, sorrow ends my life.
"The Purgatory Of St. Patrick - Act II" by Denis Florence MacCarthy
Thou too, O dog, whose faithful zeal
Fawns on some ruffian grim,--
He stripes thy skin with many a weal,
And yet,-- thou lovest him.
"Cruelty" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
Earth is not deep enough to hide
The coward slave who shrinks aside;
Hell is not hot enough to scathe
The ruffian wretch who breaks his faith.
"We Must Not Fail" by Thomas Osborne Davis
Ah! since this fair domain ye chose,
Dread ruffians, for your murderous blows,
Could not the smiling scene unclose
Your hearts to love and charity!
"Lines On The Place De La Concorde At Paris," by Amelia Opie
I saw that bosom's snow
Stain'd by the crimson gore ;
I heard that voice in woe,
That sang so sweet before :
I saw thy raven tresses torn ;
I heard thee made the ruffian's scorn.
"Hebrew Melody" by Mary Anne Browne

In news:

Sketches of Ruffian's Thread & Heirs.
Ruffian Does Punky French Manicures with MAC.
New York Labels Dannijo and Tucker Showcase Pieces for L.A. Retro modern label Ruffian has teamed up with MAC for a beauty capsule collection of three lipsticks and three stick-on nail sets, out next week.
See all the pictures from the RUFFIAN collections from RUFFIAN .
Joining Titian Red and Yves Klein Blue on the eponymous color spectrum is Ruffian Red.
Sightseek Shows No Mercy in Ruffian .
Sightseek continues Belmont success with stunning victory in Sunday's Ruffian Handicap.
Last night, the denim brand unveiled its latest, showcasing Ruffian's fall collection.
What's a ruffian to do.
New York Fashion Week Ruffian Presentation.
The Southern Californian garage rock ruffians explain it all/their latest.
Every home has its household gods and in our rather pagan one their names were Ruffian and Secretariat .
Ask the Moon won the Ruffian by 5 3/4 impressive lengths.
Penn National Jockey Has Starring Role in Ruffian Movie.
Jockey Vladimir Diaz plays the role of Jacinto Vasquez in "Ruffian".