from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A tough or rowdy person.
- n. A thug or gangster.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A scoundrel, rascal, or unprincipled, deceitful, brutal and unreliable person.
- v. To play the ruffian; to rage; to raise tumult.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Brutal; cruel; savagely boisterous; murderous.
- n. A pimp; a pander; also, a paramour.
- n. A boisterous, cruel, brutal fellow; a desperate fellow ready for murderous or cruel deeds; a cutthroat.
- n. A tough, lawless or bullying person.
- intransitive v. To play the ruffian; to rage; to raise tumult.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. . A pimp; a pander; a paramour.
- n. A boisterous, brutal fellow; a fellow ready for any desperate crime; a robber; a cutthroat; a murderer.
- n. . The devil.
- Licentious; lascivious: wanton.
- Lawless and cruel; brutal: murderous; inhuman: villainous.
- Violent; tumultuous; stormy.
- To play the ruffian; rage; raise tumult.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a cruel and brutal fellow
It does not appear, however, that the term ruffian is altogether misplaced.
Uncle Angelo had a brother, Salvatore, who was known as a ruffian by most men in the streets.
The Countess preserves her impenetrable composure; nothing in her betrays the deadly hatred with which she regards the titled ruffian who has insulted her.
He didn't like Ceorl, not even a little, but the ruffian was a good man to have along in a brawl.
I was surprised-because while I'll do anything, myself, he didn't strike me as the sort who'd lower himself to being a whore's ruffian, which is what it amounted to.
But the ruffian is a good fellow in comparison with these well-dressed, polite scoundrels, who could have given Fielding a hint or two he would have been glad of for the characters of Mr. Jonathan Wild and his friend the Count.
She characterized him as a "jug-guzzler," a "swashbuckler," and a "ruffian" -- and smiled as she recalled the picturesque figure with the clean-cut, bronzed face.
At hearing her husband called a ruffian by another woman the shadow of resentment passed across Mrs. Hughs 'face, leaving it quivering and red.
The ruffian has been a marked man by the keepers and police, they tell me, for the last year or more.
Now, as to Casey: he has been described as a ruffian and villain of irredeemable depravity - desperate to the last degree.