1. (Science: cell biology) projections at the leading edge of a crawling cell. In time lapse films the active edge appears to ruffle.
The protrusions are apparently supported by a microfilament meshwork and can move centripetally over the dorsal surface of a cell in culture.
2. (Science: zoology) The connected series of large egg capsules, or oothecae, of any one of several species of American marine gastropods of the genus Fulgur. See ootheca. Ruffle of a boot, the top turned down, and scalloped or plaited.
3. To make into a ruff; to draw or contract into puckers, plaits, or folds; to wrinkle. That which is ruffled; specifically, a strip of lace, cambric, or other fine cloth, plaited or gathered on one edge or in the middle, and used as a trimming; a frill.
4. A state of being ruffled or disturbed; disturbance; agitation; commotion; as, to put the mind in a ruffle.
5. To oughen or disturb the surface of; to make uneven by agitation or commotion. The fantastic revelries . . . That so often ruffled the placid bosom of the nile. (I. Taylor) She smoothed the ruffled seas. (Dryden)
Origin: From Ruff a plaited collar, a drum beat, a tumult: cf. OD. Ruyffelen to wrinkle.