Ruff, fashion words
Etymology: Middle English. ruf,perh. back formation from ruffle
A round, thickly pleated collar, in vogue during the 16th and 17th centuries. In muslin or linen, it was starched to maintain its form or, when very large, a light wire structure was used for support. Worn by both men and women, after a century of fame, it now becomes soft, resting on the shoulders. Its origin is uncertain. Several sources state it was Catherine de’ Medici who imported it to France from Italy, while others affirm that its use directly originated in Spain.