A ruff is a high, frilly collar that's worn snugly around the neck, or a similar frill of feathers or fur around an animal's neck. The Elizabethans are famous for wearing ruffs.

If you wear a ruff today, you're probably acting in a Shakespeare play or a movie about sixteenth century England. Some religious figures, like bishops and choir members, sometimes also wear ruffs. They're more common in animals, from dogs to the bird that's actually called a Ruff, described as having a "large collar of ornamental feathers." Ruff is believed to be a shortened form of ruffle.

Definitions of ruff
  1. noun
    a high tight collar
    synonyms: choker, neck ruff, ruffle
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    a ruff for the neck worn in the 16th century
    type of:
    collar, neckband
    a band that fits around the neck and is usually folded over
  2. noun
    an external body part consisting of feathers or hair about the neck of a bird or other animal
    synonyms: frill
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    type of:
    external body part
    any body part visible externally
  3. noun
    (card games) the act of taking a trick with a trump when unable to follow suit
    synonyms: trumping
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    type of:
    play, turn
    (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession
  4. verb
    play a trump
    synonyms: trump
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    play a trump higher than (one previously played) to the trick
    trump alternately in two hands
    type of:
    go, move
    have a turn; make one's move in a game
  5. noun
    common Eurasian sandpiper; the male has an erectile neck ruff in breeding season
    synonyms: Philomachus pugnax
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    female ruff
    type of:
    any of numerous usually small wading birds having a slender bill and piping call; closely related to the plovers
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