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.
torn or ragged strips; shreds: clothes torn to ribbons.
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.

1520–30; variant of Middle English riban(d) < Old French, variant of r (e)uban, perhaps < Germanic. See band2

ribbonlike, ribbony, adjective
unribboned, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ribbon (ˈrɪbən)
1.  a narrow strip of fine material, esp silk, used for trimming, tying, etc
2.  something resembling a ribbon; a long strip: a ribbon of land
3.  a long thin flexible band of metal used as a graduated measure, spring, etc
4.  a long narrow strip of ink-impregnated cloth for making the impression of type characters on paper in a typewriter or similar device
5.  (plural) ragged strips or shreds (esp in the phrase torn to ribbons)
6.  a small strip of coloured cloth signifying membership of an order or award of military decoration, prize, or other distinction
7.  a small, usually looped, strip of coloured cloth worn to signify support for a charity or cause: a red AIDS ribbon
8.  to adorn with a ribbon or ribbons
9.  to mark with narrow ribbon-like marks
10.  to reduce to ribbons; tear into strips
[C14 ryban, from Old French riban, apparently of Germanic origin; probably related to ring1, band²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., ribane, from O.Fr. riban "a ribbon," var. of ruban (13c.), of unknown origin, possibly from a Gmc. compound whose second element is related to band. Modern spelling is from c.1545. Custom of colored ribbon loops worn on lapels to declare support for some oppressed
or suffering group began in 1991 with AIDS red ribbons.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
Image for ribbon
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