rud·​dy | \ ˈrə-dē How to pronounce ruddy (audio) \
ruddier; ruddiest

Definition of ruddy

1 : having a healthy reddish color
3 British used as an intensivebellowed like a ruddy bull when she wanted food— Doreen Tovey

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Other Words from ruddy

ruddily \ ˈrə-​də-​lē How to pronounce ruddily (audio) \ adverb
ruddiness \ ˈrə-​dē-​nəs How to pronounce ruddiness (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

In Old English, there were two related words meaning "red": 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 vulgar intensive bloody, as 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 The man leaned his bulky body back in his seat and his ruddy face, surrounded by a white beard, took on the faraway look the woman knew well. Polly Campbell,, "Best of Polly Campbell: A Hemingway-style review of Sloppy Joe's in Newport (1997)," 16 June 2020 After being harvested, chili peppers are sun-dried until the long, tapering pods, some five or six inches in length, turn a rich, ruddy crimson color and take on a smooth, leathery sheen. Jeff Koehler, sacbee, "Sriracha moves over for harissa to shine," 22 Aug. 2017 The large lagoons at the facility attract a wide variety of waterfowl species, including up to 12,000 ruddy ducks and over 5,000 northern shovelers during spring and fall migration. Michigan Wildlife Council, Detroit Free Press, "Exploring Michigan’s Wetland Wonders," 21 Aug. 2017 Mockett, with his ruddy face and thunderous laugh, was hardly inconspicuous., "The Hijacking of the Brillante Virtuoso," 27 July 2017 Who hasn't been drawn to a big plump strawberry or a ruddy round tomato or a crisp green leaf of lettuce? Bill Daley,, "How to rescue ugly, overlooked fruits and vegetables from a sad fate," 25 July 2017 Steve Bannon Embodying the ragged, ruddy-faced Neo-Nazi credited by many as the heart of darkness quietly driving the Trump regime is no mean feat. Emma Dibdin, Esquire, "Casting the Inevitable Donald Trump White House Movie," 21 July 2017 How does Greene inflect her descriptions of nature—from the humming cicadas and pine trees to the murky caves and ruddy clay of the earth—to tell the troubled history of the region’s landscape? 2. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, "Sip & Flip Book Club: Long Man," 11 July 2017 A serious, 2-inch-tall wedge alternated two ruddy layers of moist cake, separated and topped by an ivory-tinted frosting. Andrew Marton,, "Skillets Kitchen & Sports Bar gets a handle on healthier food," 5 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ruddy.' 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 ruddy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ruddy

Middle English rudi, from Old English rudig, from rudu redness; akin to Old English rēad red — more at red

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Time Traveler for ruddy

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

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Last Updated

22 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ruddy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ruddy


How to pronounce ruddy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ruddy

: having a healthy reddish color
British, informal used to make an angry or critical statement more forceful


rud·​dy | \ ˈrə-dē How to pronounce ruddy (audio) \
ruddier; ruddiest

Kids Definition of ruddy

: having a healthy reddish color


rud·​dy | \ ˈrəd-ē How to pronounce ruddy (audio) \
ruddier; ruddiest

Medical Definition of ruddy

: having a healthy reddish color a ruddy complexion

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More from Merriam-Webster on ruddy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ruddy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ruddy

Spanish Central: Translation of ruddy

Nglish: Translation of ruddy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruddy for Arabic Speakers

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