Word Origin & History
c.1240, "a rogue, ruffian, rascall, scoundrell, varlet, filthie fellow" [Cotgrave], from O.Fr. ribalt, of uncertain origin, perhaps from riber "be wanton, sleep around," from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. riban "be wanton," lit. "to rub," possibly from the common euphemistic use of "rub" words to mean "have
sex"), from P.Gmc. *wribanan, from PIE base *wer- "to turn, bend" (see versus
). The adj. is attested from 1500, from the noun. Ribaldry is recorded from c.1300.