Origin of ruffianFrench rufian from Italian ruffiano, a pander from dialect, dialectal roffia, filth from Germanic an unverified form hruf-, scurf (akin to Old High German ruf, Old English hreof) from Indo-European base an unverified form kreup- from source Lithuanian kraupus, rough: eastern; English sense influenced, influence by rough
- A tough or rowdy person.
- A thug or gangster.
Origin of ruffianFrench pimp from Old French rufien from Old Provençal rufian from Old Italian ruffiano
(third-person singular simple present ruffians, present participle ruffianing, simple past and past participle ruffianed)
- To play the ruffian; to rage; to raise tumult.
(comparative more ruffian, superlative most ruffian)
- Brutal; cruel; savagely boisterous; murderous.
- ruffian rage
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster's Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
French rufien, Old French ruffen, ruffian (“pimp. libertine, rake").