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[ruhg-id] /ˈrʌg ɪd/
having a roughly broken, rocky, hilly, or jagged surface:
rugged ground.
(of a face) wrinkled or furrowed, as by experience or the endurance of hardship.
roughly irregular, heavy, or hard in outline or form; craggy:
Lincoln's rugged features.
rough, harsh, or stern, as persons or nature.
full of hardship and trouble; severe; hard; trying:
a rugged life.
tempestuous; stormy:
rugged weather.
harsh to the ear:
rugged sounds.
rude, uncultivated, or unrefined.
homely or plain:
rugged fare.
capable of enduring hardship, wear, etc.; strong and tough:
rugged floor covering; a rugged lumberjack.
Origin of rugged
1300-50; Middle English < Scandinavian; compare Swedish rugga to roughen (of cloth); cf. rug
Related forms
ruggedly, adverb
ruggedness, noun
unrugged, adjective
1. uneven, irregular, craggy. 4. austere. 6. turbulent. 7. grating, cacophonous. 8. unpolished, crude.
1. smooth. 4. mild. 10. frail. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rugged
  • rugged mountains and untamed forest came to represent a country that wanted to see itself as strong and fertile.
  • They leave the jail rugged and healthy from the sane and vigorous existence they have led while there.
  • The park's rugged mountain environment offers hikers plenty of scenery and a mix of both easy and strenuous conditions.
  • rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive.
  • She notes that the traditional view of society as a collection of rugged individualists is wrong.
  • Beyond a chain of rugged mountains, it swings south and then west.
  • Great storm protection and four-season mountaineering features in a rugged design made for two.
  • Cars and trucks have a small, rugged box of electronics that can reveal how the vehicle was operating before a crash.
  • Bathing outdoors is the height of mountain living, especially when done in a rugged style.
  • Traditionally, rugged laptops have required a military-grade surplus of tradeoffs.
British Dictionary definitions for rugged


having an uneven or jagged surface
rocky or steep: rugged scenery
(of the face) strong-featured or furrowed
rough, severe, or stern in character
without refinement or culture; rude: rugged manners
involving hardship; harsh: he leads a rugged life in the mountains
difficult or hard: a rugged test
(of equipment, machines, etc) designed to withstand rough treatment or use in rough conditions: a handheld rugged computer which can survive being submerged in water
(mainly US & Canadian) sturdy or strong; robust
Derived Forms
ruggedly, adverb
ruggedness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Scandinavian; compare Swedish rugga to make rough
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 rugged

c.1300, "rough, shaggy, careworn" (originally of animals), from Old Norse rogg "shaggy tuft" (see rug). "The precise relationship to ragged is not quite clear, but the stem is no doubt ultimately the same" [OED]. Meaning "vigorous, strong, robust" is American English, by 1848.

We were challenged with a peace-time choice between the American system of rugged individualism and a European philosophy of diametrically opposed doctrines -- doctrines of paternalism and state socialism. [Herbert Hoover, speech in New York, Oct. 22, 1928]
Hoover said the phrase was not his own, and it is attested from 1897, though not in a patriotic context. Related: Ruggedly; ruggedness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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