Other forms: ruffled; ruffles; ruffling

A ruffle is a pleated piece of decorative fabric often used as trim on clothes, like the ruffles on a pirate’s shirt. To ruffle is to make someone lose their composure. Argh.

The word ruffle is mysterious, but it might be from the Low German word ruffelen which means "to wrinkle." A ruffle on the bottom of a dress is like a fancy wrinkle. To ruffle someone is to upset them, and they’ll need to get straightened out. Often, this word is used in the expression "ruffle their feathers." Hearing bad news will ruffle most people's feathers. An unruffled person and an unruffled shirt will both be smoother.

Definitions of ruffle
  1. verb
    stir up (water) so as to form ripples
    synonyms: cockle, riffle, ripple, undulate
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    type of:
    flow, flux
    move or progress freely as if in a stream
  2. verb
    disturb the smoothness of
    ruffle the surface of the water”
    synonyms: mess up, ruffle up, rumple
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    type of:
    destroy the arrangement or order of
  3. verb
    twitch or flutter
    synonyms: flick, riffle
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    type of:
    displace, move
    cause to move or shift into a new position or place, both in a concrete and in an abstract sense
  4. verb
    erect or fluff up
    “the bird ruffled its feathers”
    synonyms: fluff
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    type of:
    make less dense
  5. verb
    “This play is going to ruffle some people”
    “She has a way of ruffling feathers among her colleagues”
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    type of:
    cause to be nervous or upset
  6. verb
    trouble or vex
    ruffle somebody's composure”
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    type of:
    annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, nettle, rag, rile, vex
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
  7. noun
    a noisy fight
    synonyms: affray, disturbance, fray
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    type of:
    combat, fight, fighting, scrap
    the act of fighting; any contest or struggle
  8. noun
    a strip of pleated material used as a decoration or a trim
    synonyms: flounce, frill, furbelow
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    gauffer, goffer
    an ornamental frill made by pressing pleats
    a ruffle on the front of a woman's blouse or a man's shirt
    a flared ruffle attached to the waistline of a dress or jacket or blouse
    type of:
    a decoration of color or interest that is added to relieve plainness
  9. noun
    a high tight collar
    synonyms: choker, neck ruff, ruff
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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
  10. verb
    pleat or gather into a ruffle
    ruffle the curtain fabric”
    synonyms: pleat
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    type of:
    fold, fold up, turn up
    bend or lay so that one part covers the other
  11. verb
    mix so as to make a random order or arrangement
    synonyms: mix, shuffle
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    shuffle again
    shuffle (playing cards) by separating the deck into two parts and riffling with the thumbs so the cards intermix
    divide a deck of cards at random into two parts to make selection difficult
    type of:
    hold something in one's hands and move it
  12. verb
    to walk with a lofty proud gait, often in an attempt to impress others
    synonyms: cock, prance, sashay, strut, swagger, tittup
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    type of:
    use one's feet to advance; advance by steps




DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘ruffle'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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