ru·di·men·ta·ry | \ ˌrü-də-ˈmen-tə-rē , -ˈmen-trē \

Definition of rudimentary 

1 : consisting in first principles : fundamental had only a rudimentary formal education —D. J. Boorstin

2 : of a primitive kind the equipment of these past empire-builders was rudimentary —A. J. Toynbee

3 : very imperfectly developed or represented only by a vestige the rudimentary tail of a hyrax

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Other words from rudimentary

rudimentarily \ˌrü-də-ˌmen-ˈter-ə-lē, -ˈmen-trə-lē \ adverb
rudimentariness \ˌrü-də-ˈmen-tə-rē-nəs, -ˈmen-trē- \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for rudimentary


crude, low, primitive, rude


advanced, developed, evolved, high, higher, late

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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 It appears as if the posterior molar or wisdom-teeth were tending to become rudimentary in the more civilised races of man. —Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But human rights groups have faulted Israel for answering rudimentary weapons with live ammunition. NBC News, "Palestinians prepare for major move at Gaza-Israel fence," 14 May 2018 Bipedal humans with rudimentary technology faced off against animals as much as 1,000 times their size that were emotional, thoughtful, and influenced by the same social expectations that governed human communities. Krista Langlois, Smithsonian, "Why Scientists Are Starting to Care About Cultures Who Talk to Whales," 6 Apr. 2018 The Free Press did some rudimentary vetting in cases where a candidate stated something that was factually inaccurate or where the numbers did not add up. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Does anyone running for governor have a new idea? We asked the candidates," 6 July 2018 In programs that were more rudimentary than Tay, there were usually protocols that blacklisted offensive words, but there were no safeguards to limit the type of data Tay would absorb and build on. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Unmasking A.I.'s Bias Problem," 25 June 2018 Zayn seemed the type, after all: a soft-spoken and artistically gifted teen who liked to sing alone in his bedroom and tinkered with rudimentary song-recording equipment. Carrie Battan, GQ, "How Do You Explain Zayn?," 18 June 2018 Other animals, like monkeys, have evolved to understand the rudimentary concept of nothing. Brian Resnick, Vox, "The mind-bendy weirdness of the number zero, explained," 5 July 2018 Only a rudimentary one has been put in place since. The Economist, "Raiders of the killer dappBlockchain technology may offer a way to re-decentralise the internet," 28 June 2018 Similar features are also making their way into home security cameras, with companies like Amazon and Nest offering rudimentary AI analysis, like spotting the difference between pets and people. James Vincent, The Verge, "This Japanese AI security camera shows the future of surveillance will be automated," 26 June 2018

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

1619, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rudimentary

see rudiment

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Dictionary Entries near rudimentary

rude shock







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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for rudimentary

The first known use of rudimentary was in 1619

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More Definitions for rudimentary



English Language Learners Definition of rudimentary

: basic or simple

: not very developed or advanced


ru·di·men·ta·ry | \ ˌrüd-ə-ˈmen-tə-rē \

Kids Definition of rudimentary

1 : elementary, simple He has only rudimentary knowledge of math.

2 : not fully developed rudimentary wings


ru·di·men·ta·ry | \ ˌrüd-ə-ˈment-ə-rē, -ˈmen-trē \

Medical Definition of rudimentary 

: very imperfectly developed or represented only by a vestige

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Comments on rudimentary

What made you want to look up rudimentary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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