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

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Other Words from rudder

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

Examples of rudder in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The electric motor drives a single propeller, with the driver controlling the depth and direction of the boat via hydroplanes and rudders. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "This Mini-Sub Is Like a Commuter Bus for Navy SEAL Commandos," 22 Jan. 2020 Captain Carlson attributed the Zumwalt’s stability to hull form, relative location of the rudder stops, and the size of the propellers. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "How the Zumwalt’s Strange Design Actually Helps It Handle Rough Waters," 25 Jan. 2020 My sailing instructor, Ivan Pastor, of Sailing Du Lac, the lakeside windsurfing and sailing school at the Hotel Du Lac et Du Parc, mans the rudder. National Geographic, "," 22 Jan. 2020 In low speed flight yaw was controlled by varying the turboprops' propeller pitch via rudder pedals. Eric Tegler, Ars Technica, "The Fairey Rotodyne, the vertical takeoff and landing airliner time forgot," 16 Feb. 2020 Inside are ancient rudders and oars, the largest collection of fórcole in the world, and one of the association’s 50 period boats. National Geographic, "," 22 Jan. 2020 The Woodlands Township will keep a steady hand on their rudder during the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic as General Manager and President Don Norrell has unofficially agreed to delay his retirement two months. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Woodlands general manager Norrell delays retirement due to COVID-19 crisis," 20 Mar. 2020 The empennage, elevator, and rudder remained intact., "The vintage B-17 aircraft that," 16 Oct. 2019 Salvage crews continued work on the capsized cargo ship in St. Simons Sound last week, removing the rudder and propeller to improve the stability of the vessel. Nedra Rhone, ajc, "Propeller and rudder removed from sunken cargo ship off Georgia coast," 23 Dec. 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for rudder

Last Updated

8 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rudder.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for rudder


How to pronounce rudder (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rudder

: a flat, movable piece usually of wood or metal that is attached to a ship, boat, airplane, etc., and is used in steering


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on rudder

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rudder

Spanish Central: Translation of rudder

Nglish: Translation of rudder for Spanish Speakers

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

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