Ludd·​ite | \ ˈlə-ˌdīt How to pronounce Luddite (audio) \

Definition of Luddite

: one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest broadly : one who is opposed to especially technological change The Luddite argued that automation destroys jobs.

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Other Words from Luddite

Luddite adjective

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Luddites could be considered the first victims of corporate downsizing. The Luddite movement began in the vicinity of Nottingham, England, toward the end of 1811 when textile mill workers rioted for the destruction of the new machinery that was slowly replacing them. Their name is of uncertain origin, but it may be connected to a (probably mythical) person known as Ned Ludd. According to an unsubstantiated account in George Pellew's Life of Lord Sidmouth (1847), Ned Ludd was a Leicestershire villager of the late 1700s who, in a fit of insane rage, rushed into a stocking weaver's house and destroyed his equipment. From then on, his name was proverbially connected with the destruction of machinery. With the onset of the information age, Luddite gained a broader sense describing anyone who shuns new technology.

First Known Use of Luddite

1811, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Luddite

perhaps from Ned Ludd, 18th century Leicestershire workman who destroyed a knitting frame

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The first known use of Luddite was in 1811

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Cite this Entry

“Luddite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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