"So when maidenhood has wandered into the moil of the city, when it is brought within the circle of the 'rounder' and the roué, even though it be at the outermost rim, they can come forth and use their alluring arts." -- From Theodore Dreiser's 1900 novel Sister Carrie
"Girls run off with bad boys all the time, always have and always will. But in the past, when deemed press-worthy, he was likely a notorious roué or dangerous musician, not a dropout trying to muster enough gumption for a GED." -- From an article by Bridget Foley in Women's Wear Daily, July 16, 2010
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"Roué" originated as a French word and gained momentum when it began to be used in reference to the libertine companions of Philippe II, France's regent from 1715-1723. "Roué" means "broken on the wheel" in French and ultimately derives from Latin "rota," meaning "wheel." Since the wheel being referred to was an instrument of punishment, the French were implying that such dissolute beings deserved this punishment. By the end of the 18th century, English-speakers added "roué" to its list of synonyms for a rake, libertine, debaucher, lecher, etc.
Word Family Quiz: What relative of "roué" can mean "notably plump"? The answer is ...
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