1 of 3


: resembling or suggesting a rogue elephant especially in being isolated, aberrant, dangerous, or uncontrollable
capsized by a rogue wave
: corrupt, dishonest
rogue cops
: of or being a nation whose leaders defy international law or norms of international behavior
rogue states


2 of 3


: a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
: a mischievous person : scamp
: a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
: an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation
roguish adjective
roguishly adverb
roguishness noun


3 of 3


rogued; roguing or rogueing

intransitive verb

: to weed out inferior, diseased, or nontypical individuals from a crop plant or a field
go rogue
: to begin to behave in an independent or uncontrolled way that is not authorized, normal, or expected
Before the Clemson Tigers played Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Clark [a bald eagle] was supposed to fly around the stadium, high above people's heads. But instead, he went rogue and decided to perch on two unsuspecting fans.Nicole Gallucci
Anders had been sent to the Amazon to monitor the program's progress under the formidable Dr. Annick Swensen (who may have gone rogue and is no longer returning the company's calls).Yvonne Zipp
Whenever a member of a group goes rogue, you can be absolutely certain that other members of that group will pop up with the "bad apple" defense, as in, "Well, sure, there's a few bad apples in every bunch, but that's the exception."Christine Flowers

Examples of rogue in a Sentence

Adjective Americans assume that our country was built by rogue males but there's more to the breed than wanderlust and rugged individualism. Florence King, National Review, 27 Aug. 2007
Perhaps more important, defense planners worried for the past year about the instability of the Soviet Union and the nightmare that a rogue Soviet submarine skipper might decide on his own to launch close to 200 warheads at U.S. targets. John Barry, Newsweek, 3 June 1991
In "The In-Laws," Alan Arkin is a dentist led astray by a rogue C.I.A. operative …, whose son his daughter is marrying, and he winds up dodging bullets on a Caribbean island. Terrence Rafferty, New Yorker, 30 July 1990
a rogue administrator who took bribes to falsify paperwork Noun Many of the vagabonds were rogues and cheaters of various kinds, and formed a subcommunity on the fringes of official society. Charles Barber, Early Modern English, 1976
Cartier decided that the two boys were a choice pair of rogues who would probably try to run him aground if taken as pilots, and that he would dispense with their services. Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1971
His account of their discoveries in the low life of a seaport town would have made a charming book, and in the various characters that came their way the student might easily have found matter for a very complete dictionary of rogues. W. Somerset Maugham, Moon and Sixpence, 1919
He's a lovable old rogue. a rogue who had nothing but contempt for people who made their living honestly See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Max Walker travels back to 1929 to apprehend a rogue time traveler planning to profit from the stock market crash. Jennifer Ouellette and Sean M. Carroll, Ars Technica, 24 Nov. 2023 The 29-year-old insurance agent figured the feeling was probably just from a rogue tassel on the end of her bedroom comforter and went back to sleep. Alex Ross, Peoplemag, 1 Nov. 2023 The one whose screens have seen it all – the Zoom fails, the ‘Oh sh—t’ deadline moments, and the rogue coffee splashes? Cristian Esteban, Rolling Stone, 31 Oct. 2023 Others carried handbags stuffed with rogue heels and spare pairs of underwear. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 18 Oct. 2023 Both Washington and Moscow recognized that if nuclear technology fell into the hands of rogue actors or terrorists within their own borders, it could be used to threaten them, and so each developed robust security systems for their own arsenals. Henry A. Kissinger, Foreign Affairs, 13 Oct. 2023 Peters and other lawmakers, backed by a coalition of sports leagues, including the NFL, NCAA, MLB and NASCAR, are pushing legislation that would give state and local law enforcement agencies the authority to bring down rogue drones. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, 12 Oct. 2023 In principle, the collision-causing culprit could have even been a rogue planet from interstellar space that plowed into an unlucky world that orbited ASASSN-21qj. Lyndie Chiou, Scientific American, 25 Oct. 2023 The United States has also condemned Iran for providing Moscow with drones, citing Tehran and Pyongyang as rogue regimes Russia has turned to as most of the world has condemned its invasion of Ukraine. Karen Deyoung, Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2023
Two Sides Square Off November 8, 2023 at 4:00 PM ET Yes, say some: The threat of mass destruction from rogue AIs—or bad actors using AI—is real. Demetria Gallegos, WSJ, 20 Nov. 2023 Cold weather and a rogue drain cover on the track have already injected some chaos into the spectacle. WIRED, 18 Nov. 2023 The Bureau, which operated as a rogue agency under its director, J. Edgar Hoover, leaked information, largely inaccurate or uncorroborated, to friendly columnists. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 But winning covers a multitude of sins among die-hard fans, and Knight was seen largely as a rebel-hero, one not at all reluctant to speak his mind, with just the right amount of rogue in him. Mike Kupper, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 Yoga mats should be comfortably cushioned to support your joints while still keeping you feeling in touch with the ground; a grippy surface is also key to prevent slipping and sliding, as well as any rogue movement on the floor. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, 14 Nov. 2023 Fight a rogues’ gallery of Marvel’s Super Villains – including Kraven the Hunter, Lizard, an original take on Venom, and many more! Rudie Obias, Variety, 10 Nov. 2023 The Laguna Beach family took the commission to court, and, when Xia finished her book, the rogue seawall was still standing. Daniel A. Gross, The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 2023 Subsequent films retreated from the original’s explicit antinuclear sentiments, instead introducing a rogue’s gallery of monsters for Godzilla to fight. Asher Elbein, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2023
The world faces myriad existential threats of varying likelihoods, from pandemics and nuclear war to rogue artificial intelligence and asteroid collisions. Globe Columnist,, 21 July 2023 No more scrambling at the end of the month to match potentially unpaid invoices to rogue payments. Peter Nesbitt, Forbes, 23 Jan. 2023 This trust has been betrayed time and time again, from tame regulators to rogue central bankers to corrupt politicians. WSJ, 6 Dec. 2022 In ‘Seven Samurai,’ Toshiro Mifune plays that rogue samurai who becomes the heart of the team. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Zero-Trust protects against both account compromises and rogue internal accounts. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Trump is not a pharmaceutical manufacturer that can go rogue and produce a vaccine. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 16 Sep. 2020 But a conservative Court of Appeals panel could rogue and decide to disobey Roe and Casey. Dylan Matthews, Vox, 11 July 2018 See More

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

Word History



derivative of rogue entry 2


of obscure origin


derivative of rogue entry 2

First Known Use


1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1766, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rogue was in 1561

Dictionary Entries Near rogue

Cite this Entry

“Rogue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a dishonest or wicked person
: a mischievous individual

Geographical Definition


geographical name

river about 200 miles (320 kilometers) long in southwestern Oregon rising in Crater Lake National Park and flowing west and southwest into the Pacific Ocean

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