rib·bon | \ˈri-bən \

Definition of ribbon 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a flat or tubular narrow closely woven fabric (as of silk or rayon) used for trimmings or knitting

b : a narrow fabric used for tying packages

c : a piece of usually multicolored ribbon worn as a military decoration or in place of a medal

d : a strip of colored satin given for winning a place in a competition

2 : a strip of inked fabric (as in a typewriter)

3 ribbons plural : reins for controlling an animal

4 : tatter, shred usually used in plural a sheet cut to ribbons

5 : ribband


ribboned; ribboning; ribbons

Definition of ribbon (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to adorn with ribbons

b : to divide into ribbons

c : to cover with or as if with ribbons

2 : to rip to shreds

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Other Words from ribbon


ribbonlike \ˈri-bən-ˌlīk \ adjective

Synonyms for ribbon

Synonyms: Noun

list, slip, strip

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Examples of ribbon in a Sentence


She wore pink ribbons in her hair. She tied a ribbon around the present. The present was tied with ribbon. The soldier proudly wore his ribbons and medals. Her pie won a ribbon at the county fair.


over the years the historic flag had become badly ribboned by the wind
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The cost is $45, which includes a cream puff, State Fair ticket, T-shirt, ribbon, beverage and post-race party. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "5 things to do this week in the southwest suburbs," 10 July 2018 The ribbon cutting ceremony will be hosted on July 20 at 11 a.m. at the Tomball Depot at 201 South Elm Street. Mayra Cruz, Houston Chronicle, "Tomball to unveil model railroads that depict its history," 7 July 2018 Use a mandoline to slice cucumbers lengthwise into long ribbons. Jonah Miller, WSJ, "Throw a Summer Party the Effortless Spanish Way," 6 July 2018 The cape includes white ribbons on both shoulders, a large gold tasseled rope connecting both sides, and—the best part—a black velvet hat with an oversized ostrich feather, according to People. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William's Super Ornate Outfit in Scotland Is Full of Royal Symbolism," 6 July 2018 Politicians prefer cutting ribbons outside new schools to improving what happens inside them. The Economist, "Universal lessons," 5 July 2018 Ingredients: ¾ ounce lime juice 1 ounce Monin cucumber syrup Club soda Optional garnish: cucumber ribbonTo make the mocktail:​​​​​​​ Add the lime juice and syrup over ice in a Catalina glass and stir. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Mocktail recipes: How to make tasty non-alcoholic drinks for your Fourth of July party," 3 July 2018 He was awarded many theater ribbons, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Unit Decorations, U.S. Presidential Citation, Republic of Korea Presidential Citation, and the French Croix de Guerre. Orlando Sentinel, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 7/1," 1 July 2018 Many of us had painted faces, and a few wore multicolored tutus or ribbons or buttons. Susan Keaton, Naperville Sun, "Keaton: Pride Parade was a glorious experience – why not bring it to Naperville?," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Layers of cool hues and ribboned marble give the interior a quiet and calming vibe. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "Contemporary three-story displays a fresh face in Playa Vista," 2 May 2018 For instance, the exterior of the 33-story glassy tower is punctuated with full-height bay windows, and each floor is ribboned with a horizontal green band. Pamela Dittmer Mckuen, chicagotribune.com, "New angular Loop apartment wants you to fall in love with its lines," 21 Dec. 2017 The croissants are Philly’s best, their whorling layers tanged with cultured butter and honey — even better ribboned with intense chocolate. Craig Laban, Philly.com, "Hungry Pigeon serves comfort plates with a cheffy twist," 9 Dec. 2017 In the chef’s kitchen, ribboned calacatta marble countertops pair with custom white cabinetry. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "Former Angel Gary Matthews Jr. parts with a home base in Corona del Mar," 19 Oct. 2017 Perhaps the best example of this is Lasa’s lumpia sariwa, a menu staple that takes a traditional Filipino rice flour crepe and the cuisine’s signature bright, vinegary sauces and pairs them with a bed of ribboned kale. Zan Romanoff, Bon Appetit, "We Want Everything on the Menu at This New Cali-Filipino Restaurant," 12 Sep. 2017 For me, all the blue and gold ribboned boxes in the world can’t hold a candle to Passover. Orange County Register, "Cooking with Judy: Can’t beat the cuisine at the community Seder," 6 Apr. 2017 The English Channel was not a wide strip of water separating present-day England and France, but instead a frozen, river-ribboned tundra connecting the two lands. Amina Khan, latimes.com, "Natural Brexit: Britain's original separation from Europe left scars on English Channel," 5 Apr. 2017 CONSIDER THE BANKER BAG, that tubular gym bag, distinctly ribboned around its girth with the telltale logo of a financial institution. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "The Banker Bag Gets a Much-Needed Makeover," 8 Mar. 2017

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

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First Known Use of ribbon


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1656, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ribbon


Middle English riban, from Anglo-French ribane, rubane

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Learn More about ribbon

Dictionary Entries near ribbon






ribbon bed

ribbon brake

Statistics for ribbon

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ribbon

The first known use of ribbon was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ribbon



English Language Learners Definition of ribbon

: a narrow piece of cloth (such as silk) that is used to tie things or for decoration

: a short piece of cloth that is given as a military award

: a piece of colored cloth that is given as an award in a competition


rib·bon | \ˈri-bən \

Kids Definition of ribbon

1 : a narrow strip of usually colorful fabric used especially for decoration or to tie things

2 : a ribbon that is given as an award

3 : tatter sense 1, shred usually used in pl. The sails were torn to ribbons.

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Comments on ribbon

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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