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ruf·fle 1

1. A strip of frilled or closely pleated fabric used for trimming or decoration.
2. A ruff on a bird.
3. An irregularity or a slight disturbance of a surface: the ruffle on the lake.
4. A beating or rustling sound: the ruffle of drums in the distance; the ruffle of a skirt on the floor.
v. ruf·fled, ruf·fling, ruf·fles
1. To disturb the smoothness or regularity of; ripple: The wind ruffled the water.
a. To pleat or gather (fabric) into a ruffle.
b. To put a ruffle on (a garment, for example).
3. To erect (the feathers). Used of birds.
4. To discompose or annoy; fluster: a book that is bound to ruffle some people.
5. To flip through (the pages of a book).
6. To shuffle (cards).
1. To become irregular or rough: His hair ruffled in the wind.
2. To become annoyed or flustered: What teacher doesn't ruffle when students act up in class?
a. To flip through the pages of a book: ruffled through the book until I found the picture.
b. To search for something in a container: ruffled in her bag looking for the keys.
4. To make a beating or rustling sound.

[From Middle English ruffelen, to roughen.]

ruf·fle 2

A low continuous beating of a drum that is not as loud as a roll. Also called ruff4.
tr.v. ruf·fled, ruf·fling, ruf·fles
To beat a ruffle on (a drum).

[Probably from frequentative of ruff.]

ruf·fle 3

intr.v. ruf·fled, ruf·fling, ruf·fles
Obsolete To behave arrogantly or roughly; swagger.

[Middle English ruffelen, to quarrel.]

ruf′fler n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. a person or thing that ruffles
2. (Knitting & Sewing) an attachment on a sewing machine used for making frills
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
References in classic literature ?
Among the numerous afflictions which the Europeans have entailed upon some of the natives of the South Seas, is the accidental introduction among them of that enemy of all repose and ruffler of even tempers--the Mosquito.
And, la, as to yonder base rufflers, think ye they have not their fill, but yet desire more?"
The voyageurs or boatmen were the rank and file in the service of the trader, and even the hardy "men of the north," those great rufflers and game birds, were fain to be paddled from point to point of their migrations.
I would like to thank the following people for their replies: Lyold Hallead, Marlette, Mich.; Arnold and Barbara Waiters, Clive, Alberta, Canada; Gilvie and Anna Franke, Novelty, Mo.; Dale Longhurst, Delta, Utah; Emanuel Yoder, Columbus, Ohio; Duane Thies, Winside, Neb.; Malcolm Ruffler, Grassy Butte, N.D.
Keeping with the times and always ready to capitalise on the latest technology and design innovations, all Necchi sewing machines come complete with attachments that you would not normally get with other brands, such as embroidery feet, piping feet, quilting feet, ruffler and side-cutter.
If "ruffler" was the cant term for a phony survivor of battle, "falconer" was the label applied to the fraudulent author who cozened "patrons" out of their cash by cobbling up a book at his own expense with a flatteringly generalized dedication in which the names of multiple dedicatees could be secretly inserted.
Operation Home Delivery: Last July, the Orlando firm of Dellecker, Wilson, King, McKenna & Ruffler chose a Louisiana Cajun theme for its annual holiday party.
Also, Trinity Recycling has bought a Bollegraaf HBC 110F baler with a paper ruffler for its Indianapolis plant.