rug·​ged | \ ˈrə-gəd How to pronounce rugged (audio) \

Definition of rugged

1 : having a rough uneven surface : jagged rugged mountains
2a : seamed with wrinkles and furrows : weathered used of a human face
b : showing facial signs of strength rugged good looks
3a : presenting a severe test of ability, stamina, or resolution
b : strongly built or constituted : robust those that survive are stalwart, rugged men— L. D. Stamp
4a : rough and strong in character
5 : turbulent, stormy rugged weather
6 obsolete : shaggy, hairy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rugged

ruggedly adverb
ruggedness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for rugged

rough, harsh, uneven, rugged, scabrous mean not smooth or even. rough implies points, bristles, ridges, or projections on the surface. a rough wooden board harsh implies a surface or texture distinctly unpleasant to the touch. a harsh fabric that chafes the skin uneven implies a lack of uniformity in height, breadth, or quality. an old house with uneven floors rugged implies irregularity or roughness of land surface and connotes difficulty of travel. a rugged landscape scabrous implies scaliness or prickliness of surface. a scabrous leaf

Examples of rugged in a Sentence

the rugged surface of the moon She did a painting of the region's rugged coastline. People are attracted to his rugged good looks. I admire her rugged individualism.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Frostbitten extremities were commonplace, along with exhaustion from trekking up rugged hills, and unrelenting violence and trauma from firefights, mines and grenades that left scores dead and wounded. Louie Estrada, Washington Post, "Charles Armstrong, Korean War officer during early years of Army integration, dies at 93," 1 Aug. 2020 But all that’s not to say that a handful of Australian and New Zealand islands didn’t impress with their wildlife, culinary clout, and rugged beauty. Chloe Sachdev, Travel + Leisure, "Top 10 Islands in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific," 8 July 2020 The landscape is rugged, veined with ravines and thicketed with oaks. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, "In Search of King David’s Lost Empire," 22 June 2020 Though the rear suspension is low-tech leaf-spring, the wheels stay planted even on rugged terrain. Steven Cole Smith, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Toyota T100 Xtracab DX Inches Closer to Becoming a Real Full-Size Pickup," 12 June 2020 The scenic trip along the Oregon Coast Highway includes rugged coastline views, charming towns, state parks, beaches, tide pools, and marine life, like whales during their migration. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "7 Best West Coast Road Trips in the U.S.," 11 July 2020 There's active construction as several sites along the border, including at rugged desert areas in southwestern Arizona, where most of the rescues take place. Rafael Carranza, The Arizona Republic, "Migrant rescues in Arizona desert exceed 2019 total as apprehensions rise across border," 11 July 2020 Bärenschützklamm is one of the longest gorges in Austria, and features waterfalls, rugged rocks and more than 100 wooden bridges, according to its website. Rachel Desantis,, "Rockfall in Austrian Gorge Popular with Hikers Kills at Least 3 People," 10 July 2020 There has been almost daily fighting over the last several months along the rugged and mountainous frontier between Indian and Pakistani soldiers, leaving dozens of civilians and soldiers dead on both sides. Washington Post, "Pro-India leader, 2 family members killed in Kashmir," 9 July 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of rugged

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6

History and Etymology for rugged

Middle English, from Middle English *rug

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rugged

Time Traveler for rugged

Time Traveler

The first known use of rugged was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rugged

Last Updated

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rugged.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rugged


How to pronounce rugged (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rugged

: having a rough, uneven surface
of a man's face : having rough but attractive features
: strong and determined


rug·​ged | \ ˈrə-gəd How to pronounce rugged (audio) \

Kids Definition of rugged

1 : having a rough uneven surface rugged hills
2 : strong sense 3, tough rugged pioneers
3 : involving hardship rugged training

Other Words from rugged

ruggedly adverb
ruggedness noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on rugged

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rugged

Spanish Central: Translation of rugged

Nglish: Translation of rugged for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rugged for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rugged

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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