rib·​bon | \ ˈri-bən How to pronounce ribbon (audio) \

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 plurala sheet cut to ribbons


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 How to pronounce ribbonlike (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for ribbon

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of ribbon in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb over the years the historic flag had become badly ribboned by the wind
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Doctors, nurses and other health care workers held up signs with black ribbons, remembering their fallen colleagues before breaking out into a round of applause. NBC News, "Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.," 15 May 2020 To the far right, Lulu, skinny, eight years old, stares into the camera, her dark braid fastened with two ribbons. Justine Van Der Leun, The New Republic, "Death of a Survivor," 3 May 2020 In DuVal-Begos' basement are $20,000 in balloons just waiting to be tied up with ribbons for a party. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Whatever happens with the postponed 2020 DNC, it won't be the party Milwaukee businesses expected to host," 24 Apr. 2020 This piece explores covering or hiding aspects of the past with ribbons and strings that slowly overtake the image. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Art and the City: Dallas art galleries address themes of self-expression, anxiety, memory and reverence during the pandemic," 19 Apr. 2020 At an interview, candidates are seated behind a black curtain, and a five-member selection panel is unable to see a candidate’s uniform, with its career-defining ribbons and patches. Nancy A. Youssef, WSJ, "In Generational Shift, Army Uses a New System to Promote Hundreds of Officers," 4 Mar. 2020 The science fair organizers were not stingy with the award ribbons. Steve Rubenstein, SFChronicle.com, "SF science fairs give a boost to middle school imaginations," 1 Mar. 2020 Other teams have joined in with ribbons, tape and other gestures of solidarity. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Two generations of Louisville's volleyball community gutted by tragic crash in St. Louis," 16 Feb. 2020 When their clothing started to be gussied up with colorful ribbons, Paoletti argues, in many places blue was the girl color and pink was the boy color. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Do Girls Really Prefer Pink? There's No Hard-Wired Reason for Girls to Choose Pink Over Blue," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Effortlessly, Rogers adjusted the machine, and the wheel dropped down on one side. Melting cheese, somewhere between brie and Swiss, cascaded onto the rounds of salami, ribboned in buttery waves. Nick Rallo, Dallas News, "It’s time to raclette: Scardello cheesemonger takes melty cheese sandwiches on the go," 13 Feb. 2020 Each holiday season hundreds of boxes pass through this distribution center, where they are handled by postal workers already burdened with many extra deliveries, soon to be wrapped and ribboned and placed beneath trees. Jeremy C. Fox, BostonGlobe.com, "USPS helps Globe Santa get gifts down the chimney," 17 Dec. 2019 For decades, the viaduct provided shelter to homeless people below, who lived underneath decks of asphalt and steel that ribboned along the Puget Sound. Vianna Davila, The Seattle Times, "As the Alaskan Way Viaduct comes down, so does a longtime shelter for Seattle’s homeless," 13 Jan. 2019 One of the original highways in the U.S. highway system, Route 66 stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, totaling in 2,448 miles of ribboning highway. Lydia Culp, Fox News, "Best US road trips," 2 Apr. 2018 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

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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Time Traveler for ribbon

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ribbon

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ribbon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ribbon. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for ribbon


How to pronounce ribbon (audio)

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


rib·​bon | \ ˈri-bən How to pronounce ribbon (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on ribbon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ribbon

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ribbon

Spanish Central: Translation of ribbon

Nglish: Translation of ribbon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ribbon for Arabic Speakers

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