Ludd·​ite ˈlə-ˌdīt How to pronounce Luddite (audio)
: 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.
Luddite adjective

Did you know?

Long before your Luddite friend was waxing poetic about how blissful it is to not have a smartphone, Luddites were protesting the textile machinery that was slowly replacing them. It was toward the end of 1811, in the vicinity of Nottingham, England, when handicraftsmen formed organized bands and began to riot for the destruction of the new machinery. Their name is of uncertain origin, but it may be connected to a (probably mythical) person named 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 rage, rushed into a stocking weaver's house and destroyed his equipment; subsequently, his name was proverbially connected with machinery destruction. With the onset of the information age, Luddite gained a broader sense describing anyone who shuns new technology.

Examples of Luddite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When an existential crisis hits Adam, a musical Luddite contemplating suicide, his betrothed returns to assist in regulating his ennui. Nicholas Bell, SPIN, 14 Feb. 2024 Over 200 years after the Luddite uprisings, garment factory workers in fast fashion are still burning to death because of unsafe working conditions. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, 13 Jan. 2024 Los Angeles Times technology columnist Brian Merchant’s Blood in the Machine is a spirited and thoughtful recounting of the Luddite uprising in response to the Industrial Revolution, one that draws parallel after parallel to the present. Kate Knibbs, WIRED, 22 Dec. 2023 The genie is out of the bottle Despite the possible changes to the labor market, Summers is hardly a Luddite or tech doomer. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 22 Nov. 2023 The term Luddite is often used incorrectly to describe an exhausted and embittered populace that wants technology to go away. WIRED, 28 Sep. 2023 George Mellor, the Luddite captain, was eventually convicted of assassinating Horsfall, the factory owner, and was hanged, at the age of twenty-three. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 26 Sep. 2023 As such, in drawing that red line against AI, a tactic that proved so successful, the writers pulled a page out of the old-school Luddite playbook. Brian Merchant, Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2023 That poem was published in 1808, just three years before the Luddite rebellion took shape. Brian Merchant, Los Angeles Times, 31 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Luddite.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1811, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Luddite was in 1811


Dictionary Entries Near Luddite

Cite this Entry

“Luddite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

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