from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A strip of frilled or closely pleated fabric used for trimming or decoration.
  • n. A ruff on a bird.
  • n. A ruckus or fray.
  • n. Annoyance; vexation.
  • n. An irregularity or a slight disturbance of a surface.
  • transitive v. To disturb the smoothness or regularity of; ripple.
  • transitive v. To pleat or gather (fabric) into a ruffle.
  • transitive v. To erect (the feathers). Used of birds.
  • transitive v. To discompose; fluster: a book that is bound to ruffle some people.
  • transitive v. To flip through (the pages of a book).
  • transitive v. To shuffle (cards).
  • intransitive v. To become irregular or rough.
  • intransitive v. To flutter.
  • intransitive v. To become flustered.
  • n. A low continuous beating of a drum that is not as loud as a roll. Also called ruff4.
  • transitive v. To beat a ruffle on (a drum).
  • intransitive v. To behave arrogantly or roughly; swagger.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any gathered or curled strip of fabric added as trim or decoration.
  • n. disturbance; agitation; commotion
  • n. A low, vibrating beat of a drum, quieter than a roll; a ruff.
  • n. The connected series of large egg capsules, or oothecae, of several species of American marine gastropods of the genus Fulgur.
  • v. To make a ruffle in; to curl or flute, as an edge of fabric.
  • v. To disturb; especially, to cause to flutter.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which is ruffled; specifically, a strip of lace, cambric, or other fine cloth, plaited or gathered on one edge or in the middle, and used as a trimming; a frill.
  • n. A state of being ruffled or disturbed; disturbance; agitation; commotion.
  • n. A low, vibrating beat of a drum, not so loud as a roll; -- called also ruff.
  • n. The connected series of large egg capsules, or oöthecæ, of any one of several species of American marine gastropods of the genus Fulgur. See Oötheca.
  • intransitive v. To grow rough, boisterous, or turbulent.
  • intransitive v. To become disordered; to play loosely; to flutter.
  • intransitive v. To be rough; to jar; to be in contention; hence, to put on airs; to swagger.
  • transitive v. To make into a ruff; to draw or contract into puckers, plaits, or folds; to wrinkle.
  • transitive v. To furnish with ruffles.
  • transitive v. To oughen or disturb the surface of; to make uneven by agitation or commotion.
  • transitive v. To erect in a ruff, as feathers.
  • transitive v. To beat with the ruff or ruffle, as a drum.
  • transitive v. To discompose; to agitate; to disturb.
  • transitive v. To throw into disorder or confusion.
  • transitive v. To throw together in a disorderly manner.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act turbulently or lawlessly; riot; play the bully; hence, to bluster.
  • To put on airs; swagger: often with an indefinite it.
  • To be rough or boisterous: said of the weather.
  • To bully; insult; annoy.
  • To beat the ruffle on: as, to ruffle a drum.
  • n. A strip of any textile material drawn up at one edge in gathers or plaits, and used as a bordering or trimming; a full, narrow flounce; a frill; a ruff.
  • n. Something resembling a ruffle in form or position.
  • n. In ornithology, same as ruff, 2 .
  • n. The string of egg-capsules of the periwinkles, whelks, and related gastropods.
  • n. In mech., a series of projections, often connected by a web, formed on the inner face of a flange of a metal gudgeon for a wooden shaft or roller, and fitted to a corresponding series of recesses in the end of such shaft or roller, to secure a rigid attachment of the flange and prevent its turning except as the shaft or roller turns with it.
  • n. Disquietude or discomposure, as of the mind or temper; annoyance; irritation.
  • n. A brawl; a quarrel; a tumult.
  • n. Milit., a low vibrating beat of the drum, less loud than the roll, and used on certain occasions as a mark of respect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. to walk with a lofty proud gait, often in an attempt to impress others
  • v. disturb the smoothness of
  • v. mix so as to make a random order or arrangement
  • v. pleat or gather into a ruffle
  • n. a high tight collar
  • v. discompose
  • n. a strip of pleated material used as a decoration or a trim
  • v. stir up (water) so as to form ripples
  • v. twitch or flutter
  • v. erect or fluff up
  • v. trouble or vex
  • n. a noisy fight


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

From Middle English ruffelen, to roughen.
Probably from frequentative of ruff4.
Middle English ruffelen, to quarrel.



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  • Citation on chicha (in the sense of a collar).

    July 25, 2008