Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

ruly

play
adjective \ˈrü-lē\

Definition of ruly

  1. :  obedient, orderly <a ruly crowd>



Did You Know?

You're probably familiar with unruly, meaning "not readily controlled or disciplined." Have you ever wondered, "Is there a 'ruly' too?" If so, did it seem to you that such a word should exist? A little over 150 years ago, someone apparently followed that same thought process, creating "ruly" by dropping the prefix from "unruly." Whoever did so probably thought the coinage was a new one, but that's not quite the case. There had once been another "ruly" with much the same meaning as the modern term, but it had been out of use for over 200 years. Ultimately, "ruly" and "unruly" come from "reuly," a Middle English word meaning "disciplined." "Reuly" in turn comes from Middle English "reule," a predecessor of "rule."

Origin of ruly

back-formation from unruly


First Known Use: 1837


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ruly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the Celtic May Day festival

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

oily maudlin prompt angry
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ