• synonyms


[ruhf-uh ld]
See more synonyms for ruffled on Thesaurus.com
  1. (of apparel) having ruffles.
Show More

Origin of ruffled

First recorded in 1600–10; ruffle1 + -ed2


verb (used with object), ruf·fled, ruf·fling.
  1. to destroy the smoothness or evenness of: The wind ruffled the sand.
  2. to erect (the feathers), as a bird in anger.
  3. to disturb, vex, or irritate: to be ruffled by a perceived slight.
  4. to turn (the pages of a book) rapidly.
  5. to pass (cards) through the fingers rapidly in shuffling.
  6. to draw up (cloth, lace, etc.) into a ruffle by gathering along one edge.
Show More
verb (used without object), ruf·fled, ruf·fling.
  1. to be or become ruffled; undulate; flutter: Flags ruffle in the wind.
  2. to be or become vexed or irritated.
  3. to put on airs; swagger.
Show More
  1. a break in the smoothness or evenness of some surface; undulation.
  2. a strip of cloth, lace, etc., drawn up by gathering along one edge and used as a trimming on a dress, blouse, etc.
  3. some object resembling this, as the ruff of a bird.
  4. disturbance or vexation; annoyance; irritation: It is impossible to live without some daily ruffles to our composure.
  5. a disturbed state of mind; perturbation.
Show More

Origin of ruffle1

1250–1300; Middle English ruffelen (v.); cognate with Low German ruffelen to crumple, rumple; compare Old Norse hruffa to scratch
Related formsruf·fly, adjectiveruf·fler, noun


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com



[ruhf-uh l]
  1. a low, continuous beating of a drum.
Show More
verb (used with object), ruf·fled, ruf·fling.
  1. to beat (a drum) in this manner.
Show More

Origin of ruffle2

1715–25; archaic ruff in same sense (perhaps imitative) + -le
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for ruffled

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • His fingers had ruffled his hair into a dissipated untidiness.

    The Secret Agent

    Joseph Conrad

  • Finally he extricated himself, ruffled, breathless, but still talking.

    Slaves of Mercury

    Nat Schachner

  • Then she smoothed out her ruffled frock, and patted her hair into its place.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Then she put her hand up and stroked his cheek and ruffled his hair.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Observe how Emerson is wriggled and ruffled in this crushing crowd.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

British Dictionary definitions for ruffled


  1. to make, be, or become irregular or rumpledto ruffle a child's hair; a breeze ruffling the water
  2. to annoy, irritate, or be annoyed or irritated
  3. (tr) to make into a ruffle; pleat
  4. (of a bird) to erect (its feathers) in anger, display, etc
  5. (tr) to flick (cards, pages, etc) rapidly with the fingers
Show More
  1. an irregular or disturbed surface
  2. a strip of pleated material used for decoration or as a trim
  3. zoology another name for ruff 1 (def. 2)
  4. annoyance or irritation
Show More

Word Origin

C13: of Germanic origin; compare Middle Low German ruffelen to crumple, Old Norse hrufla to scratch


  1. a low continuous drumbeat
Show More
  1. (tr) to beat (a drum) with a low repetitive beat
Show More

Word Origin

C18: from earlier ruff, of imitative origin


  1. (intr) archaic to behave riotously or arrogantly; swagger
Show More

Word Origin

C15: of obscure origin
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

Word Origin and History for ruffled



early 14c., "to disturb the smoothness of," perhaps from Old Norse hrufla "to scratch," or Low German ruffelen "to wrinkle, curl," both of unknown origin. Meaning "disarrange" (hair or feathers) first recorded late 15c.; sense of "annoy, distract" is from 1650s. Related: Ruffled; ruffling.

Show More



"ornamental frill," 1707, from ruffle (v.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper