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[ruhd-er] /ˈrʌd ər/
Nautical. a vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned horizontally to change the vessel's direction when in motion.
Aeronautics. a movable control surface attached to a vertical stabilizer, located at the rear of an airplane and used, along with the ailerons, to turn the airplane.
any means of or device for governing, directing, or guiding a course, as a leader or principle:
His ideas provided a rudder for the new company.
Origin of rudder
before 900; Middle English rodder, rother, ruder, Old English rōther; cognate with Old Frisian rōther, Middle Dutch rōder (Dutch roer), Old High German ruodar (German Ruder); akin to row2
Related forms
ruddered, adjective
rudderless, adjective
rudderlike, adjective
unruddered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rudder
  • The same sensor is used on a boat to shine a beam off the tiller bar, using the reflection to measure the angle of the rudder.
  • For years big ship propulsion had a standard configuration: a propeller in the rear with a rudder behind it to steer.
  • But you can't make him responsible for the ship's course if he doesn't have control of the rudder.
  • The same sensor is used on a boat to shine a beam off the tiller bar and use the reflection to measure the angle of the rudder.
  • These marine systems keep an eye on things such as rudder movements, yaw angles, wind speed and the strain the sails are taking.
  • To lessen the hogging, for more than fifty years the ship has been without its seven-ton rudder.
  • Heard of a lady whose toy poodle got upset and hid under her rudder peddles while she was attempting a crosswind landing.
  • To move among them without a collision is to sail without benefit of a centerboard or rudder.
  • The animal had a long, stiff tail that served as a stabilizing rudder for gliding flight.
  • The tip of the rudder was halfway up the second floor.
British Dictionary definitions for rudder


(nautical) a pivoted vertical vane that projects into the water at the stern of a vessel and can be controlled by a tiller, wheel, or other apparatus to steer the vessel
a vertical control surface attached to the rear of the fin used to steer an aircraft, in conjunction with the ailerons
anything that guides or directs
Derived Forms
rudderless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English rōther; related to Old French rōther, Old High German ruodar, Old Norse rōthr. See row²
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 rudder

Old English roðor "paddle, oar," from Proto-Germanic *rothru- (cf. Old Frisian roðer, Middle Low German roder, Middle Dutch roeder, Dutch roer, Old High German ruodar, German Ruder "oar"), from *ro- "steer" (see row (v.)) + suffix -þra, used to form neutral names of tools. Meaning "broad, flat piece of wood attached to the stern of a boat and used for steering" is from c.1300. Spelling with -d- for -th- first recorded mid-15c. (cf. feather, mother, gather).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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