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

Definition of ruddy

1 : having a healthy reddish color
2 : red, reddish
3 British used as an intensive bellowed like a ruddy bull when she wanted food— Doreen Tovey

Other Words from ruddy

ruddily \ ˈrə-​də-​lē How to pronounce ruddy (audio) \ adverb
ruddiness \ ˈrə-​dē-​nəs How to pronounce ruddy (audio) \ 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 Soothe your dry, ruddy complexion with this collection that includes the beloved Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment that my mom uses daily. Jennifer Aldrich, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Oct. 2021 In Hanapepe, the bottom layer turns a ruddy color like the soil. Malia Wollan, New York Times, 15 Dec. 2020 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,, 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, 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, 21 Aug. 2017 Mockett, with his ruddy face and thunderous laugh, was hardly inconspicuous., 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,, 25 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, 11 July 2017 See More

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.

First Known Use of ruddy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ruddy

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

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

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ruddy diver

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Cite this Entry

“Ruddy.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for ruddy


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

More from Merriam-Webster on ruddy

Nglish: Translation of ruddy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ruddy for Arabic Speakers


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