rib·​ald | \ ˈri-bəld How to pronounce ribald (audio) also ˈri-ˌbȯld, ˈrī-ˌbȯld \

Definition of ribald

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : marked by coarseness or lewdness : crude, offensive ribald language ribald humor
2 : characterized by or using coarse, indecent humor a ribald memoir/song



Definition of ribald (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person coarse or lewd in appearance, speech, writing, or thought : a ribald person

Choose the Right Synonym for ribald


coarse, vulgar, gross, obscene, ribald mean offensive to good taste or morals. coarse implies roughness, rudeness, or crudeness of spirit, behavior, or language. found the coarse humor of coworkers offensive vulgar often implies boorishness or ill-breeding. a loud vulgar belch gross implies extreme coarseness and insensitiveness. gross eating habits obscene applies to anything strongly repulsive to the sense of decency and propriety especially in sexual matters. obscene language not allowed on the air ribald applies to what is amusingly or picturesquely vulgar or irreverent or mildly indecent. entertained the campers with ribald folk songs

Examples of ribald in a Sentence

Adjective some of the movie's most ribald, and thus funniest, scenes were cut for showing on broadcast television a ribald tale rife with double entendres and racy innuendo
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Eight years ago that original, decidedly more ribald version, was a surprise hit with gay men. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, 14 Oct. 2020 But, Brigman found, the men in Stieglitz’s scene often belittled the subject, ogling and making ribald jokes. Sarah Blackwood, The New Yorker, 11 May 2020 But Beforeigners eschews the supernatural, and the campier teen soap elements, to deliver a thoughtful, moving, and often quite ribald and funny tale of various worlds colliding. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 21 Feb. 2020 Later, Society members on the city commission pulled funding from a chamber-of-commerce event, citing concerns about an allegedly ribald country-and-western band. Emma Green, The Atlantic, 12 Dec. 2019 The Los Angeles artist, known for her ribald depictions of middle-aged men and babies (and baby men) wreaking all manner of havoc (bodily and otherwise), is presenting a series of paintings and videos. Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2019 The Los Angeles artist, known for her ribald depictions of middle-aged men and babies (and baby men) wreaking all manner of havoc (bodily and otherwise), is presenting a new series of paintings and videos. Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2019 Some more-than-meets-the-eye introspection punctuated with a ribald quip. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, 26 Aug. 2019 Haywood discussed her campaign on a recent afternoon at her two-story brick home on the South Side of Chicago, showing a ribald sense of humor and a gift for gab. Malika Andrews, New York Times, 8 May 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ribald.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ribald


circa 1500, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ribald


Middle English ribaud person of low status, scoundrel, lecher, from Anglo-French, from Old French riber to be debauched, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German rīban to be in heat, copulate, literally, to rub

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The first known use of ribald was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Ribald.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ribald. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ribald

Nglish: Translation of ribald for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ribald for Arabic Speakers


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