rud·​der | \ ˈrə-dər How to pronounce rudder (audio) \

Definition of rudder

1 : an underwater blade that is positioned at the stern of a boat or ship and controlled by its helm and that when turned causes the vessel's head to turn in the same direction
2 : a movable auxiliary airfoil on an airplane usually attached at the rear end that serves to control direction of flight in the horizontal plane — see airplane illustration
3 : a guiding force or strategy

Other Words from rudder

rudderless \ ˈrə-​dər-​ləs How to pronounce rudder (audio) \ adjective

Examples of rudder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also, the boat’s rudder was knocked out of place by an unidentified marine animal — sending the boat spinning. Fox News, 30 July 2022 Eventually, Williams ran out of ammunition, and cannon fire from a MiG took out control of his rudder and hydraulics. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 June 2022 Inside the eDA40’s is seating for four with adjustable pilot seat backs and lumbar support, electrically adjustable rudder pedals and electric air conditioning. J. George Gorant, Robb Report, 5 May 2022 The tail section of the plane consists of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, including the fin, rudder and elevators, which help to control the plane in flight. Emiliano Tahui Gómez, USA TODAY, 25 Mar. 2022 How, without rudder or wing, to steer, To get hold of this floating grave. Osip Mandelstam, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2022 New Irish coach Marcus Freeman has steadied the rudder. Mark Heim |, al, 1 Jan. 2022 In the 1950s, the Convair B-58 Hustler employed a rudder, elevons, and a complex automatic trim system. Walter J. Boyne And Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, 23 May 2021 Verdant, rife with wildlife sightings, and slow, the trip, steered solely with a rod, rudder, and oar, promises a peacefulness long before arrival. Becca Hensley, Travel + Leisure, 26 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rudder.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of rudder

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rudder

Middle English rother, from Old English rōther paddle; akin to Old English rōwan to row

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Time Traveler for rudder

Time Traveler

The first known use of rudder was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near rudder



rudder angle

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Statistics for rudder

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Rudder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for rudder


rud·​der | \ ˈrə-dər How to pronounce rudder (audio) \

Kids Definition of rudder

: a movable flat piece attached at the rear of a ship or aircraft for steering

More from Merriam-Webster on rudder

Nglish: Translation of rudder for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rudder for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about rudder


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