a tough, lawless person; roughneck; bully.
Also ruf·fi·an·ly. tough; lawless; brutal.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ruffian in a sentence
The mercenary, ruffian crew Marsac recruits for assistance is clearly not to be trusted.Flashing blades, secret passages, mistaken identities: ‘A Gentleman of France’ is a classic adventure tale | Michael Dirda | September 1, 2021 | Washington Post
As a boy, he admired the hoodlums and ruffians he saw on the streets.The Mobster Who Brought Armenia and Azerbaijan Together … in Death | Fiona Zublin | October 9, 2020 | Ozy
We know the governor, despite his popularity and his toe-dips into bipartisanship, has a reputation as a ruffian.
Of course I had to satisfy the ruffian's insolent demands, but I did so under protest.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3) | Charles James Wills
The ruffian released him at last, and, leaping to his feet, was gone before Rabecque could rise.St. Martin's Summer | Rafael Sabatini
Up the slope they dashed, and past the place where Matt and Clip had had their encounter with Jem and the other ruffian.Motor Matt's "Century" Run | Stanley R. Matthews
It was hard work to keep his hands off the ruffian who was one of the main causes of the trouble.The Weight of the Crown | Fred M. White
At length one bold ruffian came near her, but was struck dead at her feet by a thunderbolt.Fighting the Traffic in Young Girls | Various
British Dictionary definitions for ruffian
a violent or lawless person; hoodlum or villain
- ruffianism, noun
- ruffianly, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012