Definition of roué
: a man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure : rake
roué was our Word of the Day on 06/13/2011. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
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 its list of synonyms for a rake, libertine, debaucher, lecher, etc.
Origin and Etymology of roué
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
First Known Use: 1781
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