9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[rib-uh ld; spelling pronunciation rahy-buh ld] /ˈrɪb əld; spelling pronunciation ˈraɪ bəld/
vulgar or indecent in speech, language, etc.; coarsely mocking, abusive, or irreverent; scurrilous.
a ribald person.
Origin of ribald
1200-50; Middle English ribald, ribaud (noun) < Old French ribau(l)d, equivalent to rib(er) to be licentious (< Old High German rīben to copulate, be in heat, literally, rub) + -au(l)d, -alt < Frankish *-wald a suffix in personal names, derivative of *walden to rule; compare parallel development of -ard
Related forms
ribaldly, adverb
1. indecent, obscene, gross.
1. pure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for ribald
  • Well, there is little of the ribald humor and catcalls often heard on construction sites.
  • Although it is obliquely ribald now, it is still hilarious.
  • But it must be reported that the ribald note is less rollicking in this third stage of their adventures.
  • It is simply a ribald wallow in the cheapness of an ugly phase of life.
  • Three novellas, in tones ribald to reflective, by a versatile writer.
  • The three quite different novellas that make up the book vary in tone from ribald comedy to quiet reflection.
  • The change from teeth to dentures struck my brother and me as both grave and ribald.
  • When he's relaxed and unguarded, as unguarded as he ever gets, he's ribald and funny.
British Dictionary definitions for ribald


coarse, obscene, or licentious, usually in a humorous or mocking way
a ribald person
Derived Forms
ribaldly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French ribauld, from riber to live licentiously, of Germanic origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for ribald

c.1500, from ribald, ribaud (n.), mid-13c., "a rogue, ruffian, rascall, scoundrell, varlet, filthie fellow" [Cotgrave], from Old French ribaut, ribalt "rogue, scoundrel, lewd lover," also as an adjective, "wanton, depraved, dissolute, licentious," of uncertain origin, perhaps (with suffix -ald) from riber "be wanton, sleep around, dally amorously," from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German riban "be wanton," literally "to rub," possibly from the common euphemistic use of "rub" words to mean "have sex"), from Proto-Germanic *wribanan, from PIE root *wer- (3) "to turn, bend" (see versus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ribald

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ribald

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with ribald

Nearby words for ribald