\ rü-ˈā How to pronounce roué (audio) \

Definition of roué

: a man devoted to a life of sensual pleasure : rake

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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 their list of synonyms for a rake, libertine, debaucher, lecher, etc.

Examples of roué in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Why not the antics of sly Elizabethan housewives playing tricks on a fatuous drunken roue? Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ as a sitcom? Call it ‘The Bardy Bunch.’," 22 Jan. 2020 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.

First Known Use of roué

1781, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for 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

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Cite this Entry

“Roué.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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