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.
Examples of roué in a Sentence
Recent Examples on the Web
In the film, Jennifer Jones played the heroine, in her maid’s cap and apron, and French actor Charles Boyer was Adam Belinski, the refugee Czech intellectual roue, on the Hollywood assumption that one European accent is as good as another.
New York Times, "In Praise of Margery Sharp," 12 Apr. 2018
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'roué.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
French, literally, broken on the wheel, from past participle of rouer to break on the wheel, from Medieval Latin rotare, from Latin, to rotate; from the feeling that such a person deserves this punishment