rug·​ged | \ˈrə-gəd \

Definition of rugged 

1 obsolete : shaggy, hairy

2 : having a rough uneven surface : jagged rugged mountains

3 : turbulent, stormy rugged weather

4a : seamed with wrinkles and furrows : weathered used of a human face

b : showing facial signs of strength rugged good looks

5a : austere, stern

b : coarse, rude

c : rough and strong in character

6a : 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Harper was raised on a farm in central Texas, and the rugged landscape of the Japanese prefecture reminded him of home. Howie Kahn, WSJ, "Perfecting Crops With AI-Powered Indoor Farms," 17 Oct. 2018 Finding less difficult buckets allowed Cleveland to shoot 50.6% from the field against a rugged Boston defense. Rohan Nadkarni,, "Cavs Best Celtics in Game 4 With Timely Performance in the Paint," 21 May 2018 Such difficulties underscore the severe logistical challenges to fighting the disease in remote and rugged terrain with few roads, little electricity or basic services, and no facilities for health workers to live and work in. Nick Cumming-bruce, New York Times, "Fears of Larger Contagion as Ebola Spreads to Major Congo City," 17 May 2018 Meghan Markle is getting into the rugged New Zealand spirit, trading in her gowns and pumps for more casual clothing. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears Back-to-Back Casual Outfits on the Royal Tour in New Zealand," 29 Oct. 2018 Her remains were found eight days later in rugged tundra accessible only by a four-wheeler or on foot. Fox News, "Alaska man charged with murder in 10-year-old girl's slaying," 24 Sep. 2018 This is particularly true in rural Australia, where the majority of farmers are men, who are expected to display an image of rugged individualism. Jacqueline Williams, New York Times, "A Booming Economy With a Tragic Price," 20 May 2018 Happily, Zhao has a sharp sense of when and how to hit the brakes on the wrong, corny kind of rugged individualism. Michael Phillips, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘The Rider’ is a Western like no other," 18 May 2018 Colorado has also long been a popular place for New Agers and other counterculturists, not all of them cranks; the state has a reputation for cultivating rugged individualism in a beautiful setting. Longreads, "Born Again," 1 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of rugged

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rugged

Middle English, from Middle English *rug

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Statistics for rugged

Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rugged

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

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More Definitions for rugged



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 \

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

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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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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