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.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from Luddite

Luddite adjective

Did You Know?

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Luddite

Listen to Our Podcast about Luddite

Dictionary Entries near Luddite

Lucy light

Lucy Stoner






Statistics for Luddite

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for Luddite

The first known use of Luddite was in 1811

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on Luddite

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with Luddite

Comments on Luddite

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


a period when something is suspended

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!