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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 ruggedness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • With him the ruggedness of his master's manner was softened down, and considerable advances made towards a better style.

  • There is no ruggedness in the meter, no violence in the stream of images.

    Life Immovable Kostes Palamas
  • Diogenes finally convalesced to his former state of ruggedness and obstreperousness.

    Our Next-Door Neighbors Belle Kanaris Maniates
  • Luther also was thought by some to be a mere compound of violence and ruggedness.

    Character Samuel Smiles
  • Despite its corky wings, it has none of the ruggedness of the cork elm, but is a pretty round-headed tree.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • Nothing can convey an idea of the grandeur and ruggedness of the mountains.

    Mount Rainier Various
  • The almost smooth texture and the dark shadows of the Manchester picture have given way to ruggedness and transparency.

    Watts (1817-1904) William Loftus Hare
  • On the contrary there is a ruggedness in his manner that jars upon the sense.

    Thoughts on Man William Godwin
  • These elevations, besides, have none of the ruggedness of character we usually find in such places.

British Dictionary definitions for ruggedness


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 ruggedness



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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