1 of 3


: resembling or suggesting a rogue elephant especially in being isolated, aberrant, dangerous, or uncontrollable
capsized by a rogue wave
: corrupt, dishonest
rogue cops
: of or being a nation whose leaders defy international law or norms of international behavior
rogue states


2 of 3


: a dishonest or worthless person : scoundrel
: a mischievous person : scamp
: a horse inclined to shirk or misbehave
: an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation
roguish adjective
roguishly adverb
roguishness noun


3 of 3


rogued; roguing or rogueing

intransitive verb

: to weed out inferior, diseased, or nontypical individuals from a crop plant or a field
go rogue
: to begin to behave in an independent or uncontrolled way that is not authorized, normal, or expected
Before the Clemson Tigers played Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas on Saturday, Clark [a bald eagle] was supposed to fly around the stadium, high above people's heads. But instead, he went rogue and decided to perch on two unsuspecting fans. Nicole Gallucci
Anders had been sent to the Amazon to monitor the program's progress under the formidable Dr. Annick Swensen (who may have gone rogue and is no longer returning the company's calls). Yvonne Zipp
Whenever a member of a group goes rogue, you can be absolutely certain that other members of that group will pop up with the "bad apple" defense, as in, "Well, sure, there's a few bad apples in every bunch, but that's the exception." Christine Flowers

Example Sentences

Adjective Americans assume that our country was built by rogue males but there's more to the breed than wanderlust and rugged individualism. Florence King, National Review, 27 Aug. 2007 Perhaps more important, defense planners worried for the past year about the instability of the Soviet Union and the nightmare that a rogue Soviet submarine skipper might decide on his own to launch close to 200 warheads at U.S. targets. John Barry, Newsweek, 3 June 1991 In "The In-Laws," Alan Arkin is a dentist led astray by a rogue C.I.A. operative …, whose son his daughter is marrying, and he winds up dodging bullets on a Caribbean island. Terrence Rafferty, New Yorker, 30 July 1990 a rogue administrator who took bribes to falsify paperwork Noun Many of the vagabonds were rogues and cheaters of various kinds, and formed a subcommunity on the fringes of official society. Charles Barber, Early Modern English, 1976 Cartier decided that the two boys were a choice pair of rogues who would probably try to run him aground if taken as pilots, and that he would dispense with their services. Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1971 His account of their discoveries in the low life of a seaport town would have made a charming book, and in the various characters that came their way the student might easily have found matter for a very complete dictionary of rogues. W. Somerset Maugham, Moon and Sixpence, 1919 He's a lovable old rogue. a rogue who had nothing but contempt for people who made their living honestly See More
Recent Examples on the Web
The theories — that Jewish bankers, businessmen, and media barons secretly control the world, that Jews are rogue agents of destruction — constitute a kind of alternate history. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 23 Nov. 2022 The defense has long argued that this was an entrapment case, maintaining rogue FBI agents and informants set up unsophisticated big talkers who were merely blowing off steam while the FBI hatched a kidnapping plan and framed them for it. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 2 Sep. 2022 Made from a lightweight material, the blankets are also water-resistant and dry quickly if they do get splashed by a rogue wave. Annie Burdick,, 20 July 2022 Ever fashion yourself as a master assassin tasked with casting out rogue demons from heaven? Mike Hume, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2022 Our defenses need to be deployed to deal with rogue-state threats, as well as China and Russia, and against all phases of hostile launches: boost, midcourse and terminal. John Bolton, WSJ, 13 Nov. 2022 Two days later, Maher pinned the blame on a rogue developer, but Roberts didn’t buy it. John Hyatt, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2022 The tint will effectively cover rogue gray hairs and the subtle but natural-looking color lasts up to two weeks. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 8 Nov. 2022 Russia’s weapon and troop shortage has forced it to turn to other rogue nations and some surprising sources in an effort to sustain its invasion of Ukraine. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 3 Nov. 2022
Jorge Drexler, an Uruguayan doctor who went rogue as a singer-songwriter in the ‘90s, took home seven awards, upping his lifetime Latin Grammy count to 14. Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 In his second day of testimony, Rhodes distanced himself from the Capitol attack, claiming that members of his group, including those on trial alongside him, went rogue by entering the Capitol. Ella Lee, USA TODAY, 7 Nov. 2022 Some of the students went rogue in ways that dismayed the originators of the mission. Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, 31 Oct. 2022 Vhagar, in turn, went rogue and took a big ol’ bite out of Arrax, killing both the smaller dragon and Lucerys in one chomp. Eliana Dockterman, Time, 24 Oct. 2022 Arcadia is an Italian brand that went rogue early on with its designs, deliberately choosing function over form by offering the first three-season mini-explorer that served multiple missions. Kevin Koenig, Robb Report, 10 Oct. 2022 After about a week, using nothing on my face other than the rogue spritz of a gentle facial spray, my skin bounced back to baseline. Megan Decker,, 10 Nov. 2022 The rogue Eurasian empire sanctions 13,444 individuals, organizations and firms, topping even the 11,652 restrictions laid out by the sprawling American sanctions machine. Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2022 Because oil and gas production is wholly dominated by for-profit firms here, the most powerful man on the planet has to go begging to a rogue’s gallery of ideologues to drill more and sell their products more cheaply. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 21 Oct. 2022
In ‘Seven Samurai,’ Toshiro Mifune plays that rogue samurai who becomes the heart of the team. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Zero-Trust protects against both account compromises and rogue internal accounts. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 24 June 2021 Trump is not a pharmaceutical manufacturer that can go rogue and produce a vaccine. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 16 Sep. 2020 But a conservative Court of Appeals panel could rogue and decide to disobey Roe and Casey. Dylan Matthews, Vox, 11 July 2018 See More

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

Word History



derivative of rogue entry 2


of obscure origin


derivative of rogue entry 2

First Known Use


1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 3


1766, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rogue was in 1561

Dictionary Entries Near rogue

Cite this Entry

“Rogue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



: a dishonest or wicked person
: a mischievous individual

Geographical Definition


geographical name

river about 200 miles (320 kilometers) long in southwestern Oregon rising in Crater Lake National Park and flowing west and southwest into the Pacific Ocean

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