A Dictionary of the English Language
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Ruffian (noun)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1728

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1728

Rúffian. n.s. [ruffiano, Italian; ruffien, Fr. a bawd; roffver, Danish, to pillage; perhaps it may be best derived from rough.] A brutal, boisterous, mischievous fellow; a cutthroat; a robber; a murderer.

Ruffian, let go that rude uncivil touch,
Thou friend of an ill fashion!
Shakesp. Two Gent. of Ver.

Have you a ruffian that will swear? drink? dance?
Revel the night? rob? murder?
Shakesp. Henry IV.

Sir Ralph Vane's bold answers termed rude and ruffian like, falling into years apt to take offence, furthered his condemnation. Hayward.

The boasted ancestors of these great men,
Whose virtues you admire, were all such ruffians,
This dread of nations, this almighty Rome,
That comprehends in her wide empire's bounds
All under heaven, was founded on a rape.
Addison's Cato.

Sources: Addison, Joseph (408) · Hayward, John (42) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona (41)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Ruffian (noun)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 12, 2012. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=5997.


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