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ru·​der·​al ˈrü-də-rəl How to pronounce ruderal (audio)
: growing where the natural vegetational cover has been disturbed by humans
ruderal weeds of old fields and roadsides


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: a weedy and commonly introduced plant growing where the vegetational cover has been interrupted

Examples of ruderal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Zerg units, for instance, are fast colonizers but weak fighters, similar to ruderal species of plants — small and weedy, but the first to grow after an ecosystem is disturbed. James Dinneen, Discover Magazine, 14 Apr. 2021

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

Word History



New Latin ruderalis, from Latin ruder-, rudus rubble

First Known Use


1835, in the meaning defined above


1873, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ruderal was in 1835

Dictionary Entries Near ruderal

Cite this Entry

“Ruderal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

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