ru·​di·​men·​ta·​ry ˌrü-də-ˈmen-tə-rē How to pronounce rudimentary (audio)
: consisting in first principles : fundamental
had only a rudimentary formal educationD. J. Boorstin
: of a primitive kind
the equipment of these past empire-builders was rudimentaryA. J. Toynbee
: very imperfectly developed or represented only by a vestige
the rudimentary tail of a hyrax
rudimentarily adverb
rudimentariness noun

Examples of rudimentary in a Sentence

Because now, every schlemiel with a pair of mirrored sunglasses and a rudimentary grasp of the rules of poker thinks he can play cards with the pros. A. J. Jacobs, New York Times Book Review, 8 May 2005
Despite the rudimentary nature of its instruments—an octant, a chronometer and a level—the Lewis and Clark Expedition was a triumph for science and natural history. Daniel J. Boorstin, U.S. News & World Report, 11 July 1994
A few were hopeless imbeciles, unable to comprehend more than the rudimentary requirements of filling their bellies when food was placed before them … Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Monster Men, 1929
This class requires a rudimentary knowledge of human anatomy. When baseball was in its rudimentary stages, different teams played by different rules. Some insects have only rudimentary wings. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The technology in the story is still somewhat rudimentary. Emily Zemler, Condé Nast Traveler, 17 Nov. 2023 Some were waving white flags; a few of the most elderly and infirm were pushed on rudimentary carts as Israeli troops positioned on tanks watched on. Loay Ayyoub, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2023 But rudimentary nonexperimental evidence should not justify general adoption of a life-altering practice. WSJ, 31 Oct. 2023 Hamas experts said the video appeared rushed and rudimentary, perhaps made quickly in response to Israel’s rescue of a captive soldier Sunday. Ilan Ben Zion, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 The earliest versions of its Qassam rocket were rudimentary: lightweight and capable of traveling just a few miles. WIRED, 21 Oct. 2023 The death toll is expected to keep rising as scorching heat and rudimentary rescue efforts — some are forced to dig by hand — make progress slow among the severe devastation. Elizabeth Both, NBC News, 11 Sep. 2023 Outside urban centers, medical services are often rudimentary, and when the authorities suddenly began ignoring the disease, many people succumbed to it. Ian Johnson, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 At the same time, Ecuador’s government has largely failed to take even rudimentary steps to address the security crisis, said Carla Álvarez, who researches security at the Institute for Advanced National Studies in Quito. José María León Cabrera, New York Times, 17 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


see rudiment

First Known Use

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rudimentary was in 1619

Dictionary Entries Near rudimentary

Cite this Entry

“Rudimentary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


ru·​di·​men·​ta·​ry ˌrüd-ə-ˈment-ə-rē How to pronounce rudimentary (audio)
: very imperfectly developed or represented only by a small part compared to the fully developed form
a rudimentary tail

Medical Definition


ru·​di·​men·​ta·​ry ˌrüd-ə-ˈment-ə-rē, -ˈmen-trē How to pronounce rudimentary (audio)
: very imperfectly developed or represented only by a vestige

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