a trick, stratagem, or artifice.

Origin of ruse

1375–1425; late Middle English (noun use of obsolete rusen to detour) < Middle French, derivative of ruser to retreat. See rush1

Synonym study

See trick.




a city in N Bulgaria, on the Danube. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ruse

Contemporary Examples of ruse

Historical Examples of ruse

  • Her ruse of spoliation within the law was evidence of her shrewdness, nothing more.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Mansoor feared that it was a ruse, and that the house was being watched, back and front.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • This ruse of the Indians was discovered on Friday, the 11th.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare

    Alexander Scott Withers

  • Whatever had been done at the lesser gate had been done as a ruse, I did not doubt.

    The House Under the Sea

    Sir Max Pemberton

  • The ruse succeeded to the extent of compelling the Parisian to retreat.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for ruse



an action intended to mislead, deceive, or trick; stratagem

Word Origin for ruse

C15: from Old French: trick, esp to evade capture, from ruser to retreat, from Latin recūsāre to refuse



a city in NE Bulgaria, on the River Danube: the chief river port and one of the largest industrial centres in Bulgaria. Pop: 172 000 (2005 est)
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 ruse

early 15c., "dodging movements of a hunted animal;" 1620s, "a trick," from Old French ruse, reuse "diversion, switch in flight; trick, jest" (14c.), back-formed noun from reuser "to dodge, repel, retreat; deceive, cheat," from Latin recusare "deny, reject, oppose," from re-, intensive prefix (see re-), + causari "plead as a reason, object, allege," from causa "reason, cause" (see cause (n.)). It also has been proposed that the French word may be from Latin rursus "backwards," or a Vulgar Latin form of refusare. Johnson calls it, "A French word neither elegant nor necessary." The verb ruse was used in Middle English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper