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Roué originated as a French word and gained momentum when it began to be used in reference to the libertine companions of Philippe II, France's regent from 1715-1723. Roué means "broken on the wheel" in French and ultimately derives from Latin rota, meaning "wheel." Since the wheel being referred to was an instrument of punishment, the French were implying that such dissolute beings deserved this punishment. By the end of the 18th century, English-speakers added "roué" to their list of synonyms for a rake, libertine, debaucher, lecher, etc.
Origin and Etymology of roué
First Known Use: 1781See Words from the same year
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