Main definitions of ruff in English

: ruff1ruff2ruff3ruff4

ruff1

noun

  • 1A projecting starched frill worn round the neck, characteristic of Elizabethan and Jacobean costume.

    ‘an Elizabethan ruff’
    • ‘In Elizabethan times the roots were dried and crushed and the powder was mixed with water and used to stiffen the ruffs worn by the gentry.’
    • ‘If honour meant wearing a great ruff around the neck, shame meant being denuded.’
    • ‘A trip to a Leeds theatrical costumier's secured the fancy dress, complete with buckled shoes, breeches and elaborate cuffs and ruff.’
    • ‘As low necklines gave way to ruffs of starched lace, enameled gold and jeweled necklaces hung to the waist and below on men and women alike.’
    • ‘Mascarenhas is a powdered dandy in silk stockings; a fluffy lace ruff brushes his chin.’
    • ‘The globe echoes the shape made by the Queen's head with its surrounding ruff, like a planet in relation to the sun.’
    • ‘He wore a dark blue outfit complete with tights and a large ruff around his neck.’
    • ‘By 1580 he had established a high reputation in Haarlem for miniature portraits in which sensitive faces, soft beards and crisp ruffs are drawn in metalpoint or engraved with delicate precision.’
    • ‘It's a grand pageant set in elaborate 17th century costumes of wigs, breeches, tights and ruffs.’
    • ‘Rembrandt depicts himself in a burgher's hat and cloak, as does Rubens, although the hats are dissimilar and Rembrandt wears a neck ruff.’
    • ‘Throughout Lady Rebecca regaled members with interesting titbits and explanations of why the Elizabethans wore shifts, fur trimming, cuffs and ruffs, etc.’
    • ‘Tremain's costume drama distinguishes itself by mixing just a drop of earthy magical realism into its ruffs and codpieces.’
  • 2A projecting or conspicuously coloured ring of feathers or hair round the neck of a bird or mammal.

    ‘a ruff of long pointed feathers’
    ‘my nape stirred like the ruff of a dog in a thunderstorm’
    • ‘Bird feathers used in mate attraction may form huge crests, ruffs, or tails: the male peacock tail is a case in point.’
    • ‘The differences in coat length are most apparent on the tail and ruff.’
    • ‘Adults sport a shaggy ruff at the base of their necks.’
    • ‘Behind the flock even the white tip of his tail and his ruff were quite invisible.’
    • ‘I stretch out my finger and a brazen parakeet sidles onto it, inclining its head so I can gently stroke its chalk blue ruff, so downy tender that it feels almost moist.’
    • ‘It walked with a stalking grace that reminded me of a big cat, perhaps a lynx, especially with those tufted ears and cheeks, and the furry ruff around the neck.’
    • ‘The Iberian species, however, has a distinctly spotted coat of grayish fur with tints ranging from yellow to rusty orange, a flared ruff framing its face, black ear tufts and tail tips, and long hind legs.’
    • ‘In addition, bicolors have a white ruff, white legs and feet and may have patches of white on their bodies.’
    • ‘The Angora's coat - medium long on the body, more profuse on the underside and ruff - is fine and silky with an inclination toward waviness.’
    • ‘Aside from the schipperke's thick ruff, the most striking feature of the breed is its tail - or lack thereof, since the tail is typically docked.’
    • ‘The facial ruff and disk are larger in highly nocturnal species, as well as those that hunt prey travelling under the snow.’
    • ‘A generous ruff about the neck, and breeches on the hind legs are preferred.’
    • ‘Juveniles have a dark crown with no plumes or ruff, and a mottled neck.’
    • ‘The dog trotted back out of the forest, trotting along happily, with the ruff of a pup in her mouth.’
    • ‘The tail has a dark band at the end, with a lighter tip, which, like the dark ruff around the neck, is evident when fanned open.’
  • 3A pigeon of a domestic breed with a ruff of feathers on its neck.

  • 4A North Eurasian wading bird, the male of which has a large variously coloured ruff and ear tufts in the breeding season, used in display.

    • ‘We determined the frequencies of polyandrous mating and multiple paternity in the ruff, a lekking shorebird with a genetic dimorphism in male mating behavior.’
    • ‘Elsewhere, we came across storks, ruffs and egrets, and herons of all descriptions.’
    • ‘Purple moorehen, grey heron and a good number of duck species colonise this water body with a few unusual migratory birds such as ruff and reev, glossy ibis and open billed storks joining in.’
    • ‘About 50 species were recorded there including long distance migrants like pallid harriers, ruff and reeves, white ibis, comb ducks, etc.’

Origin

Early 16th century (first used denoting a frill around a sleeve): probably from a variant of rough.

Pronunciation:

ruff

/rʌf/

Main definitions of ruff in English

: ruff1ruff2ruff3ruff4

ruff2

noun

  • 1An edible marine fish of Australian inshore waters that is related to the Australian salmon.

    Also called roughy in Australia
  • 2

    variant spelling of ruffe

Origin

Late 19th century: from ruffe.

Pronunciation:

ruff

/rʌf/

Main definitions of ruff in English

: ruff1ruff2ruff3ruff4

ruff3

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 (in bridge, whist, and similar card games) play a trump in a trick which was led in a different suit.

    ‘declarer ruffed and then led a heart’
    • ‘South could have survived by ruffing with dummy's spade six and running the spade jack, but he extravagantly ruffed with dummy's jack, then played a spade to his queen.’
    • ‘The purpose of making a multiple lead is that provided that each opponent has at least one card of the suit led they cannot win by ruffing.’
    1. 1.1[with object]Play a trump on (a card in another suit)
      ‘South ruffs a low spade’
      • ‘Then I ruffed a diamond, ruffed my last heart with the king and ruffed another diamond.’
      • ‘South ruffs a diamond in his hand, he takes the ace of clubs, ruffs a diamond, and leads the king and jack of clubs, pitching a spade from dummy when West covers.’
      • ‘I ruffed the first club in my hand and then played a trump to the ace.’

noun

  • An act of ruffing or opportunity to ruff.

    ‘he gave his partner a spade ruff’
    • ‘It is often bad to lead the second round of hearts, because of the danger of giving a ruff and discard to the opponents, since there are only six cards in the suit.’
    • ‘This strategy suits hands which look to be strong in honour cards or have a long suit that may be run through without ruffs by the opponent.’

Origin

Late 16th century (originally the name of a card game resembling whist): from Old French rouffle, a parallel formation to Italian ronfa (perhaps an alteration of trionfo a trump).

Pronunciation:

ruff

/rʌf/

Main definitions of ruff in English

: ruff1ruff2ruff3ruff4

ruff4

noun

Music
  • One of the basic patterns (rudiments) of drumming, consisting of a single note preceded by either two grace notes played with the other stick (double-stroke ruff or drag) or three grace notes played with alternating sticks (four-stroke ruff).

    drag
    • ‘One passage suggests the right hand is playing open and closed high hat notes while simultaneously playing four-stroke ruffs with the left hand.’
    • ‘The Four Stroke Ruff is a wonderful embellishment that has three grace notes and a prime note.’

Origin

Late 17th century: probably imitative.

Pronunciation:

ruff

/rʌf/