ru·​di·​ment ˈrü-də-mənt How to pronounce rudiment (audio)
: a basic principle or element or a fundamental skill
usually used in plural
teaching themselves the rudiments of rational government G. B. Galanti
: something unformed or undeveloped : beginning
usually used in plural
the rudiments of a plan
: a body part so deficient in size or structure as to be entirely unable to perform its normal function
: an organ just beginning to develop : anlage
rudimental adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web By its conclusion, someone will likely have developed the rudiments of emotion, segueing directly into Origins, a civilization game unlike any other. Dan Thurot, Ars Technica, 25 Apr. 2020 Two uncles, Pete and Bobby Domenick, played guitar and banjo professionally, and his uncle Bobby taught him some musical rudiments. Peter Keepnews, New York Times, 24 Mar. 2020 Jojo and his friend Yorki (Archie Yates)—round face, round spectacles, and an all-round delight—go off to training camp, where they are taught not only combat skills but the rudiments of racial hatred. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 18 Oct. 2019 China is attempting to deprive Uighurs of their ethnolinguistic identity, the very rudiments of their nationality. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 29 Nov. 2019 People helped each other, of course, with tins and bags of rudiments but everyone knew the stores were running out. Time, 19 Nov. 2019 Older adults often enrolled in noncredit courses, addressing topics such as home-buying, disco dancing and the rudiments of hockey. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, 21 Aug. 2019 But his father dies suddenly, before passing on anything but the rudiments of the job. María Gainza, Harper's magazine, 10 May 2019 On one such stone a pair of dotted squares flanking a thin rectangle, barely recognizable as the rudiments of a face, were enough to convey the presence of a goddess in a shrine of the first century AD. James Romm, The New York Review of Books, 18 Mar. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rudiment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Latin rudimentum beginning, from rudis raw, rude

First Known Use

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rudiment was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near rudiment

Cite this Entry

“Rudiment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

Kids Definition



ru·​di·​ment ˈrü-də-mənt How to pronounce rudiment (audio)
: a basic principle

Medical Definition



ru·​di·​ment ˈrüd-ə-mənt How to pronounce rudiment (audio)
: an incompletely developed organ or part
especially : an organ or part just beginning to develop : anlage

More from Merriam-Webster on rudiment

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.