9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[rib-uh n] /ˈrɪb ən/
a woven strip or band of fine material, as silk or rayon, varying in width and finished off at the edges, used for ornament, tying, etc.
material in such strips.
anything resembling or suggesting a ribbon or woven band.
a band of inked material used in a typewriter, adding machine, etc., that supplies ink for printing the figure on the striking typeface onto the paper beneath.
a strip of material, as satin or rayon, being or representing a medal or similar decoration, especially a military one:
an overseas ribbon.
  1. torn or ragged strips; shreds:
    clothes torn to ribbons.
  2. reins for driving.
a long, thin flexible band of metal, as for a spring, a band saw, or a tapeline.
Also, riband, ribband, Also called ledger, ledger board, ribbon strip. Carpentry. a thin horizontal piece let into studding to support the ends of joists.
Architecture, came2 .
Also, riband, ribband. Nautical. a distinctive narrow band or stripe painted along the exterior of a hull.
Shipbuilding. ribband1 (def 1).
verb (used with object)
to adorn with ribbon.
to mark with something suggesting ribbon.
to separate into ribbonlike strips.
verb (used without object)
to form in ribbonlike strips.
Origin of ribbon
1520-30; variant of Middle English riban(d) < Old French, variant of r (e)uban, perhaps < Germanic. See band2
Related forms
ribbonlike, ribbony, adjective
unribboned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ribbon
  • If rolled tubular shape, tie in bunches with narrow ribbon.
  • The vapor blows off, and the looser material forms a ribbon or stream that stays more or less along the same orbit as the comet.
  • Many of the books have a green or yellow ribbon peeking out from their top.
  • Inside, dangling from a key ring, was a green clay olive stuffed with a pimento-red ribbon.
  • The president announces that she is appointing a blue-ribbon panel to examine the organization of the university.
  • Adorn napkins with name cards, herbs, and a ribbon for a dash of holiday color.
  • It's going to be a lovely ribbon of blue when it blooms next spring.
  • The innermost end of the ribbon is actually accelerating away from the middle and opposite end of the ribbon.
  • And the prizes are a tad snazzier than a blue ribbon.
  • Scientists have recently discovered a ribbon circling the outer edge of our solar system.
British Dictionary definitions for ribbon


a narrow strip of fine material, esp silk, used for trimming, tying, etc
something resembling a ribbon; a long strip: a ribbon of land
a long thin flexible band of metal used as a graduated measure, spring, etc
a long narrow strip of ink-impregnated cloth for making the impression of type characters on paper in a typewriter or similar device
(pl) ragged strips or shreds (esp in the phrase torn to ribbons)
a small strip of coloured cloth signifying membership of an order or award of military decoration, prize, or other distinction
a small, usually looped, strip of coloured cloth worn to signify support for a charity or cause: a red AIDS ribbon
verb (transitive)
to adorn with a ribbon or ribbons
to mark with narrow ribbon-like marks
to reduce to ribbons; tear into strips
Derived Forms
ribbon-like, ribbony, adjective
Word Origin
C14 ryban, from Old French riban, apparently of Germanic origin; probably related to ring1, band²
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
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Word Origin and History for ribbon

early 14c., ribane, from Old French riban "a ribbon," variant of ruban (13c.), of unknown origin, possibly from a Germanic compound whose second element is related to band (n.1); cf. Middle Dutch ringhband "necklace." Modern spelling is from mid-16c. Originally a stripe in a material. Custom of colored ribbon loops worn on lapels to declare support for some group perceived as suffering or oppressed began in 1991 with AIDS red ribbons.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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