ruddy

adjective

rud·​dy ˈrə-dē How to pronounce ruddy (audio)
ruddier; ruddiest
1
: having a healthy reddish color
2
3
British
used as an intensive
bellowed like a ruddy bull when she wanted foodDoreen Tovey
ruddily adverb
ruddiness noun

Did you know?

In Old English, there were two related words referring to red coloring: rēad and rudu. Rēad evolved into our present-day red. Rudu evolved into rud (a word now encountered only in dialect or archaic usage) and ruddy. Most often, ruddy is applied to the face when it has the red glow of good health or is red from a suffusion of blood from exercise or excitement. It is also used in the names of some birds, such as the American ruddy duck. In British English, ruddy is also used as a colorful euphemism for the sometimes offensive intensive bloody, as 20th-century English writer Sir Kingsley Amis illustrates in The Riverside Villas Murder: "Ruddy marvelous, the way these coppers' minds work.... I take a swing at Chris Inman in public means I probably done him in."

Examples of ruddy in a Sentence

She has a ruddy face. the ruddy surface of Mars
Recent Examples on the Web Best medicine During a physical exam, a doctor remarked on a new patient’s extraordinarily ruddy complexion. Scott Lafee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Jan. 2024 Again, astronomers observed the ruddy aftermath of a neutron star collision. Quanta Magazine, 13 Dec. 2023 For the next couple hours, Shannon, who has the ruddy cheeks and undentable cheer of a veteran instructor, takes us through a progression of bump runs on its flanks. Gloria Liu, Travel + Leisure, 29 Nov. 2023 The 74-year-old Charles often looks ruddy and dashing in his Savile Row blue pinstripe suits. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 6 May 2023 The whiskey, which is bottled at 114 proof, is a deep ruddy brown color. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 6 Nov. 2023 My morning began watching the light and shadows from the rising sun play against the ruddy Dome Plateau and in the snaking Colorado River. Alexandra Cheney, Travel + Leisure, 20 Nov. 2023 Just a few spoonfuls of flavorful cocoa (or, in some versions, a couple of tidy squares of baking chocolate) turn this cake a pale, ruddy brown, the same color as the building blocks of brown stone building facades, thus its name. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 28 Aug. 2023 And never forget Jimmy Buffett, nor the man at the head of the table enjoying himself, tapping his foot, his face ruddy from the day’s sun. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ruddy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English rody, rudy, going back to Old English rudi (attested once), from rudu "red color, redness" (going back to a Germanic base *ruđ-, zero-grade ablaut of *rauđa- "red," whence also Old Icelandic roði "redness") + -i, -ig -y entry 1 — more at red entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ruddy was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near ruddy

Cite this Entry

“Ruddy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ruddy. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

ruddy

adjective
rud·​dy ˈrəd-ē How to pronounce ruddy (audio)
ruddier; ruddiest
1
: having a healthy reddish color
2
ruddily adverb
ruddiness noun

Medical Definition

ruddy

adjective
rud·​dy ˈrəd-ē How to pronounce ruddy (audio)
ruddier; ruddiest
: having a healthy reddish color
a ruddy complexion

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